Migration woes and daily threats to our feathered friends

5 August 2022

Good Morning Everyone! It is a hazy day on the Canadian Prairies. The birds have been up early feeding as temperatures are set to rise to 29 degrees C today. The plants in the garden are looking a little droopy despite watering – we have been lucky to have all that rain. Some areas are really struggling. It is now a little after noon and the Crows and Blue Jays are reminding me that they need more peanuts and want their water changed! They are so smart. Wonder if I could teach them how to use the water hose?

I hope that you enjoyed seeing those beautiful pictures of Brooks back on the nest with Mum and Dad, Rosie and Richmond, at the WWII Whirley Crane. HE is well and beautiful. In case you missed it, Brooks (Blue XA) arrived back to the nest yesterday in the late afternoon and DNA testing has confirmed that Brooks is a male. Molate was also confirmed to be a male. This is a photo of him. He is very handsome.

Richmond does not migrate but Rosie does. Wonder which Brooks will choose? It is much safer to stay put!

Rosie has brought Brooks a lovely fish. Welcome home, Brooks.

Fish hooks and monofilament line are dangerous for all birds that eat fish like Ospreys and eagles. This is a reminder that things on nests can happen quickly — and for us to clean up our environment! Join a riverbank of lake clean up. It will make you proud that you have helped.

As we get ready to begin the great autumn migration, it is perhaps best if we take a deep breath. Migration is extremely dangerous especially for first year fledglings but it is becoming increasingly difficult for ‘seasoned’ birds as well.

I was surprised when I brought home a book from our nature centre, Atlas of bird Migration. Tracking the Great Journeys of the World’s Birds. It has good solid information on species with maps, information on the difference of gender in certain species as to migration —– and, hold on, out of 176 pages, four are devoted to “Threats and Conservation.” Out of those four, two pages had large photographs. The book lists: water (they show an oil spill), field and forest (they show fires), hunting and caging. Can you think of good current examples of these that will impact the birds we love heading to their winter quarters? what are they missing? Send your ideas to me and they will be included in a special blog on migration next Friday, 12 August.

Do you live anywhere near Hawk Mountain in Pennsylvania? You can visit but, you can also take part in the annual count. Here are the dates that the birds fly over. Even if you didn’t help with the count what a special time to see the birds flying with the thermals, soaring over the mountains on their way to South America.

Hawk Mountain has kept track of spring and autumn migrations since 1934. You can go to their link and see population shifts. It is an eye-opener in some cases.

https://www.hawkmountain.org/conservation-science/resources/migration-data

Each of the nests below has faced or is facing challenges like many others. If you looked at the picture of the nest could you come up with issues they have faced? Try it before reading my text!

The two osplets at the Osoyoos Osprey nest have not fledged yet. They are working on some wingersizing. Caught them enjoying an early fish from Olsen this morning. Today will be good but by Sunday the temperatures at the nest will be 36 rising to 38 on Monday and 40 on Tuesday. Extreme heat has been an issue at this nest for several years with the temperatures continuing to rise and rise.

Thanks to the lovely people who live around the Notre-Dame Eagle nest we have more pictures of ND 15, 16, and Little Bit 17. It is always so funny…Little Bit seems to love to hide behind the small branches with leaves. So grateful to all those keeping track of the trio!

Hi Sweetheart.

The Parramatta River and Sydney Harbour have some significant toxins in the water that impacts the fish eaten by the sea birds.

The toxins leaked into the river from a shipping container company as reported in The Sydney Morning Herald on 16 May 2009. The article said, “The Patrick’s site on the Camellia peninsula, near Rosehill Racecourse, has been found to be leaking the chemical Chromium VI, posing a risk to people and marine life.”

In 2017, 2ser 107.3 reported that the Parramatta River was a “toxic time bomb.” They said, “Fifty years of toxic chemical residue is sitting on the bottom of Sydney Harbour and the Parramatta River. It’s a toxic time-bomb and disturbing this sediment could worsen already dire pollution levels. And now sweeping developments along the shore of the River could be bringing more pollution to the already sullied waters.” While many might have hoped to swim in the river before they were too elderly to do so, contaminated storm water was pumped into the river in December 2020 causing more problems.

It is unclear what impact this is having on the White-bellied Sea Eagles who are at the top of the food chain along the river. Despite research being carried out, the direct implication to these WBSE is not normally discussed. If you know of a study with results, please let me know.

Lady with WBSE 29 and 30. They are filling up the nest cup!

Karl and Kaia missed each other by a flap of a wing. The fish basket has been replenished! Karl II rains down fish on the storklets. You can see the fish on the nest in the image below and then in the video. So grateful for Urmas and his fish baskets that have kept this family in good health. Areas where the Black Storks used to fish is becoming too developed and it is becoming more difficult to find fish – so grateful for the intervention. I continue to question whether or not it would work -in nests impacted by human action such as Osoyoos – to place a fish basket for the Ospreys? Would they use it? We are constantly told that the temperatures we are experiencing now are not going to alter but will get hotter. We need to work on plans for the birds.

Kaia has also been collecting fish for the four.

The four were stuffed after the feedings from both Karl II and Kaia. They will not fledge in rainy weather nor will they fledge when they are so full.

Urmas posted this note on Looduskalender yesterday. It has some information about what will happen once the storklets fledge.

The storklets now have names. Bonus will keep his name. The other three are Voog, Wada, and Iks.

The three storklets of Karl II and Kaia are Voog. This is Voog standing up

Waba is on the perch.

Iks is preening Waba. So there are the three!

Last year Kaia left for her migration on 11 August. These storklets should have fledged last week but they have not. Recent heavy rains have halted this or large feedings. The longer they stay on the nest and eat the stronger they will be.

The storks will travel to the centre of Africa for their migration. Have a look at a map and remember that that they often stop west of Odessa at a nature reserve. What particular issues will they face during migration?

The migration threats to the White Storks of Mlade Buky in the Czech Republic are similar to the ones that Klepetan faced when he migrated back and forth from Croatia to South Africa. He would visit his mate, Malena in Croatia for the breeding period. The person who cared for Malena was particularly concerned with the White Storks passing over Lebanon? S Vokic even wrote to the Prime Minister and President of Lebanon. Do you remember what his concerns were?*

Dad continues to provide fish on the Janakkalan Osprey nest in Finland. I have not seen Titi fly.

He can fly. He just does not know it and he has no mother like Nuppu to encourage him. As such he continues to be a target for predators. It is good to remember that Ospreys talons are for holding fish – getting them out of the water and transporting them – not for fighting. They are too curved inward.

Despite concerns over migration or intruders, the birds on the nests are doing fine. Their health appears good and food is coming in on a regular basis – even at Osoyoos where Olsen brings fish in early on the hottest of days and late in the day. Once the birds fledge they can also cool off in the water. Keep sending them your warmest wishes. Life is getting ready to get difficult as they fly, perfect their flying, and set off on their own course in life.

There is some great news coming out of Yorkshire! More firsts for the UK Osprey population. Fantastic.

Sharon Dunne posted an update on when the Royal Cam chick will be banded. They ran out of time yesterday. Here is the announcement:

The Albatross face particular threats that some of the other migrating birds do not face. QT chick will fledge in September. When she flies off Taiaroa Head she will head out to sea where she will spend 4-6 years before ever returning to land. Then she will return as a juvenile with wobbly legs for a bit partying it up with the others hoping to find a mate for future years. What could happen to these lovely birds on the high seas for all those years?

In the Northern Hemisphere, the lovely sea birds around the UK continue to die from Avian Flu. They thought it was over and it has come back with a fury. Dutch scientist, Thijs Kuken says the solution for future outbreaks is to stop the factory farming of poultry. So far the Ospreys in the UK seem to have not fallen victim to the latest outbreak.

https://theecologist.org/2022/aug/01/avian-flu-outbreak-killing-wild-birds?fbclid=IwAR1erpdLzQUUobsxWqc5oQM5e9hURsLjGxXpP0vVS1Eu7HzmlSDPbLXIc1E

Thank you for joining me today. Remember do your research on threats to our feathered friends due to migration. Think about it. Send me your findings by Thursday of next week. That would be 11 August on the Canadian Prairies. Take care everyone. See you soon!

  • If you said shooting for sport you would be correct.

Thank you to the following for their posts and/or streaming cams where I took my screen captures: SF Ospreys and Golden Gate Audubon, Notre Dame Eagles FB, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, Finnish Osprey Foundation, Eagle Club of Estonia and Looduskalender, Mlade Buky White Storks, and the Osoyoos Osprey nest.

Good News on Little Bit ND17 and brief news in Bird World

Sunday 3 July 2022

Camaro with hay bale” by La Chachalaca Fotografía is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

Do you live in an area where farmer’s are baling hay or straw? and using baling twine? It was baling twine mixed in with some other nesting materials that caught on the male Ospreys talon at Osoyoos and pulled the chick off to fall to its death. Dr Erick Greene at the Montana Osprey Project finds literally tonnes of baling twine in the Osprey nests he studies. He also finds dead chicks and others nearly dead and tangled. If you live in a farming area help our Ospreys by spreading the word. Here is an information pamphlet that Dr Greene prepared – it is quick and to the point.

It is surprising that the nest at ND-LEEF is still holding. It looks like bits and pieces of it are falling away each day. Mum and Dad are still bringing fish to the nest for ND15 and 16.

15 was on the nest when the adult arrives with a nice fish. Soon 16 arrives.

I believe 15 kept the fish!

There is an update today on ND17 – and it is a good one. There is that sweet baby. It appears that individuals have been showing up at the clinic wanting to see 17. Please do not go there. The clinic staff has addressed this issue in their posting. ND17 is doing great and it is the clinic’s business to help him so that he can be returned to the wild. Everyone who works at a rehabilitation clinic is overworked and underpaid – it is a very sad situation in many instances where they do not get celebrity birds and good donations. Send them a thank you letter! Tell them you don’t expect a reply. Make a donation! Give to your local rehabber — I keep saying clean old towels but gosh, they are much needed. Give the towel a second life, too.

Isn’t he adorable?

Problems with nests and falling out of nests happens everywhere. It has been awhile since I checked on the two White-tail Eaglets in their nest in the Tucholskie Forest in Poland. Last time I remained somewhat cautious about the second chick surviving. Their names are Uno and Duo. (The third chick was a victim of siblicide). Uno fell off the nest and spent 4 days on the forest floor. He must have glided – as he flew back up to the nest. There are now some concerns that Duo has not been fed since 1 July and Uno is taking all the prey. They are big eaglets – just beautiful. Both will hopefully survive.

Sleeping and waiting for food.

Last year, Karl II and Kaia had three storklets. One of those Pikne who stayed with Karl II for a long time having him bring her food before fledging. She hatched on the 28th of May and fledged 4 August. She has a perfect flight to Ethiopia where she arrives on October 24, 2021. Pikne stayed in Africa and set off for her return flight to Estonia. She was in Israel on 1 June 2022 and everyone was so happy to see her transmitter working. Sadly, on 6 June, she on a power line and was killed in the middle of nowhere in Turkey. Such promise. A day does not go by without adding another one to ‘the list’.

Pikne is the storklet getting ready to stand up at the front.

As ‘S’ reminded me last year, countries can make laws that power companies must make their poles safe for wildlife but the companies must follow through in a timely manner. Last fall we lost Solly in South Australia and the individuals that make up Port Lincoln Osprey were on a mission to get the government to fix the power poles. Must check with them to see how they are doing. It is, sadly, a worldwide issue for our beautiful raptors and storks. In Pikne’s case, it is thought that she was tired and landed to rest as there was no place to feed near that pole — so it is not just poles near feeding areas but all poles that should have a protective cover.

This is the nest of Karl and Kaia this morning. Bonus made no reaction to Karl II which means that he has accepted him as his father, the male on the nest and is home with the three siblings. This is such good news for the success of the intervention by Urmas and Dr Madis V. Actually it is fantastic news.

What can you do to help so that our beautiful birds are not electrocuted? Here is a story of a Bald Eagle and an individual who got their power company to retrofit the power lines – 12 of them – in their neighbourhood. Remember! Each of us can make a difference by seeking solutions for the birds that live where we do.

Most everyone is following the story of Malala, the Red-tail hawklet meant for dinner but adopted by the Gabriola Island Bald Eagle family. This article covers this adventure from the beginning to the present. It is a really good read.

Every once in awhile I feel compelled to give a shout out to the New Zealand government and specifically their Department of Conservation (NZ DOC). I wonder how many of my readers follow the exploits of the Royal Cam chick on Taiaroa Head? There she is – QT (Quarry Track) chick doing her morning stretches. What a beauty.

This year has seen at least 10 supplementary feedings for QT and a few of the other chicks on the peninsula. Her parents are YRK and OGK. Just like Janika could not provide enough food for her storklets alone, neither can YRK. There is little talk on the Royal Cam FB group but the much beloved OGK was last seen on the 19th of May. Some believe he came in on June 10 but that is not confirmed and many believe it was not him but, rather, YRK. OGK doesn’t choose to not return to feed his chicks. He is one of the most devoted Royal Albatross I have ever seen. He is either injured or dead. Two years ago OGK suffered a leg injury and returned limping after 40 days. If the 19 of May date is correct – he is missing for 46 days now. Send all good wishes his way, please.

US Steel Eagle 4 (USS4) is in care from tumbling out of the tree with severe feather injuries but USS5 is doing great – learning how to fly and returning to the nest for prey from the parents. Congratulations 5 – you are doing very well, indeed.

‘H’ reports that Dory has really mastered the art of feeding her three osplets on the Boathouse Osprey nest – making sure that each and everyone has bites. Dory purposefully gave Little Bob several nice mouth fulls this morning. Fantastic. Thank you ‘H’.

Dad was in early with fish for Mum and the two osplets on the Osoyoos Osprey Platform. It was 0554. Fingers crossed!

That is a brief look at some of the news today. Everyone seems to be doing well.

It is not a good image – taken with my phone at a distance. But this is the tiny rabbit that comes to the garden now grown – 4x his size. Grass and birdseed!

In celebration of ND17s progress, I am sending each of you a virtual piece of that Yokohama Orange cake…Sorry to all food designers. Fall plate and spring flowers! But delicious cake…it was worth all the effort.

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and/or FB postings where I took my screen captures: Humane Wildlife Indiana, The Eagle Club of Estonia, Bieliki Online Bory Tucholskie, NZ DOC, ND-LEEF, Explore and Audubon, Pix Cams, Osoyoos Osprey Cam, and GROWLS.

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.