A Hop, Skip, and a Jump through Ospreyland

Several people have written and asked about the third or last chick placed on the Patuxent River Park Osprey Nest 2. Many call that little one the ‘Silo Chick’ since it fell out of a silo and was fostered on this nest at the River til fledging. This little one seemed to have a short run, hopefully, of bad luck as it also fell out of the Patuxent nest as well and was rescued by Katherine Dami and her boyfriend. That little Osprey was so lucky! The flurry of activity around that rescue made me realize that every streaming cam needs to have an active 24/7 emergency number to the local wildlife rehabber or the person who would instigate emergency rescue at the nest. Ah, but back to the topic at hand. Silo chick fledged and has not been seen at the nest. Katherine, when asked, wrote to ‘S’ and said that they had not observed Silo Chick at the nest. Katherine did say that a large number of fledglings have gathered together and were honing their flying skills on another spot in the Patuxent River. So let us all hope that Silo Chick is there! If I hear anything more I will let you know. That nest looks very empty right now. Some fledglings like to be fed on the nest. A good example of that is LM1 and LM2 up at the Loch of the Lowes but maybe these three are being fed off camera.

So far there are only two eggs on the Port Lincoln Osprey Nest in Australia. I am quietly cheering that it remains only two. There are nests, such as that of Blue 33 and Maya at Manton Bay Rutland, that can feed and manage four chicks but, Mom and Dad at PLO will do better if there are only two. It could stop the rate of siblicide on this nest.

Tiny Little our ‘Big Girl’ at the Foulshaw Moss nest snagged herself a nice fish this morning from dad, White YW. After losing one to a bigger sibling last evening it is grand to see her eating away. Indeed, it is always nice to see Tiny Little!

Aran and Mrs G have been staying around the nest at Glaslyn. There was even sky dancing observed. The Ospreys want to seal their bond before migration. I am so happy to see the two of them around the nest. There was a time when Aran was injured and not flying much or fishing that I was concerned that Z2, Aeron, from the Pont Croesor Nest nearby or his siblings including Z1, Tegid, who has a nest in Snowdonia, might be eyeing the Glaslyn nest.

Mrs. G on the nest:

Aran up on his perch.

There has been a lot of discussion about when NC0 will leave the Loch of the Lowes Osprey nest in Scotland for her migration. She is still here and she is fishing – hauling in some nice ones for her two babies who prefer to eat on the nest. This was Sunday late afternoon.

The anticipation and seeing mom arriving with a fish:

NC0 lands it.

LM2 got the fish and ate really fast with older sibling hanging around.

Maya is also still at Rutland Manton Bay – there had also been questions about whether she was still around. Seen on nest with chick around 18:00 Sunday. Blue 33 had just brought in a fish for Blue 095.

The Friends of Loch Arkaig have just announced that the names of Louis and Dorcha’s two male chicks for 2021 on the alternative Loch Arkaig nest will be Aspen and Alder. The names are derived from the two popular trees in the area. They took 45.5% of the votes. Well done!

People have been wondering where Iris is. The cam operator spotted her early this morning, around 9am, on her favourite perching spot on Mt Sentinel. Iris is fine and is enjoying her summer. Worries, of course, continue for the Montana Ospreys as the Clark Fork River water levels are at all time lows. The trout are dying. The New York Times carried an article on this urgent matter. If you don’t have a subscription you might not be able to open the article and I apologize but do try. Just look at the level of the water in the image and the dead trout. So terrifying.

Speaking of Iris, I promised the Montana Osprey Project that I would mention their fundraiser – The Iris Pens – this weekend as a reminder to everyone. Dr Erick Greene has collected a few more twigs and sent them off to the workshop of Richard and Sharon Leigh Miles in South Carolina. The pens are $45 US and that includes postage.

This is Dr Greene with the box of Iris twigs.

This is Richard and Sharon Leigh Miles opening up the box of twigs they received from Dr Greene.

Richard begins by cutting the sticks in their workshop.

Pens get their beautiful shape on the lathe.

This is what the finished ‘Iris Pens’ look like – the colour and patterns will depend on the wood that the pen is made from. Iris spreads her love to various trees and shrubs!

The pens have been made and sold out for the past few years. This year as in other years we wish for Iris’s safe return to us from her migration next spring. If you want an Iris Pen, do so quickly. The original 35 are gone and, as mentioned, Dr Greene has sent some more twigs the birds knocked out of the nest to Richard and Sharon. Follow these directions supplied by the Montana Osprey Project.

1) Send an email to montanaospreyproject@gmail.com2) If your mailing address is in the US, on the subject line of your email, type your full name followed by Pen OrderFor example To: montanaospreyproject@gmail.comSubject: Your Name – Pen Order3) If your mailing address is outside the US, on the subject line of your email, type your full name followed by International Pen OrderFor example To: montanaospreyproject@gmail.comSubject: Your Name – International Pen OrderIf yours is an international order we will get back to you with a few additional instructions.4) The email’s body should include the following information:a) Your name b) Your email c) Number of pens you would like to order.d) Total amount ($45.00 per pen). Shipping is included in this price.e) Your mailing address just as it should be on the envelope. f) Send the email to MontanaOspreyProject@gmail.com5) For those of you who live in the United States, make out a check out to: Montana Osprey Project – Erick Greene(We are not set up to take credit card or Pay Pal orders. Sorry – has to be a personal check or money order)6) Mail your check to:Dr. Erick Greene – Montana Osprey ProjectDivision of Biological Sciences 32 Campus Drive University of MontanaMissoula, Montana USA 598127) For those of you who live outside of the US, send us the email with all of your information, but hold off on sending a check. We will get back to you with a few more instructions.

I can’t wait for mine to arrive.

Thank you so much for joining me today. I am off in search of hawks and ducks this afternoon. It is sunny and warm but we are going to venture out in the heat anyway! Take care all. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I grab my screen shots: Collins Marsh Nature Centre, Manton Bay Osprey Nest and Rutland Water, LRWT, Scottish Wildlife Trust and Friends of Loch of the Lowes, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Patuxent River Park Osprey Cam 2, Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Cam, Brywd Gwyllt Glaslyn, and the Port Lincoln Osprey Project. I would also like to thank Richard and Sharon Leigh Miles for allowing me to use the information and the images for the Iris Pens and for their dedication to the Montana Osprey Project. A big shout out to Dr Greene for his devotion to the Montana Ospreys. Thank you!

Featured Image are the two 2021 chicks of Laddie, LM12, and Blue NC0 waiting for NC0 to get the fish to the nest. Their numbers are LR1 and LR2.

Late Saturday and early Sunday 17-18 July in Bird World

If you have watched Kindness, the Bald Eagle nestling at Glacier Gardens, then you might have caught her nipping at her mum’s beak. It looks like she is trying to kiss mum. A couple of days ago a video was made showing Kindness interacting with her mum. My goodness, Kindness, you are lucky your mum is so patient! Have a look.

At the Port Lincoln Osprey barge, it looks like the final touches have gone on the nest renovations. The egg cup is now lined with very soft pieces of bark. Mom decides to try it out!

Dad flies in with something else on his mind! No eggs yet but mating is taking place. Season will begin soon!

As we approach fledging at all of the Northern Hemisphere Osprey nests and migration in a month to six weeks, if you fear Osprey withdrawal, here is the link to this nest. Just a warning. This nest has had instances of siblicide in the past.

The Port Lincoln’s eldest chick from the 2020 season, a female named Solly, was fitted with a satellite tracker. Solly is 301 days old and she is still hanging out at Eba Anchorage and Kiffin Island. It sure seems that Solly has found her forever home at Eba Anchorage. For those of you unfamiliar, the movements of Solly changed what everyone understood about Ospreys in Australia. It was believed that ospreys stayed near to where their natal nest was located. Solly travelled over 200 km to Eba Anchorage and Perlubie giving the researchers fresh insights to the behaviour of these ospreys.

To my knowledge there has been no sighting of DEW, her younger brother. He did not receive a tracker but he did get a metal ring and a Darvic colour band.

Suzanne Arnold Horning was on the Cornell Campus again this evening. How lucky she was to get some great images of Big Red with a squirrel down on the ground – and it wasn’t raining. (Send the rain to the Canadian Prairies when you get tired of it, Suzanne!).

It was wonderful to see Big Red with prey that she was going to eat herself. She needs to build up her strength after laying eggs, incubating those eggs, and feeding and caring for the three Ks until fledge. Even now she is doing some prey drops and is busy training the Ks to hunt.

Big Red with Squirrel. @ Suzanne Arnold Horning

The Robins were giving Big Red a lot of grief. Could it be because Arthur has been up at their nest eating their babies? Or the fact that K1 caught a bird today and it was rumoured to be a young Robin?

Robins being rather assertive around Big Red. @ Suzanne Arnold Horning

Big Red and her squirrel also attracted another visitor – a Turkey Vulture!

Would you mind sharing asks the Turkey Vulture. @ Suzanne Arnold Horning

The pair also attracted a human who was said to have tried to interfere with the situation. Both of the birds were fine. Big Red was eating and the Turkey Vulture appeared to be waiting to see if she left anything.

One of the things that I have learned is that hunting is difficult and prey is not abundant always. Raptors can wait for hours, half a day, or even a day to catch prey to eat. It is estimated that only 1 out of 3 juveniles live to the age of two years – mostly due to starvation. Humans should not interfere when a raptor is eating. As a result of the human intrusion, Big Red chose to fly away from the human who was interfering. This also caused her to leave part of her meal. The vulture did eat the rest – so in the end everyone ate- but it was a situation that should never have happened. Remember if you see a hawk hunting or eating, please leave them alone. Finding their meal is not that easy.

Turkey Vulture at Cornell. @Suzanne Arnold Horning

The scientific name for the Turkey Vulture – Carthartes Aura – means ‘cleansing breeze’. They are scavengers, eating mainly carrion. They have dark espresso coloured feathers, red legs and head, with a white beak. Like the condor, there are no feathers on their head. This is a great evolutionary trait so that pieces of the dead do not stick to them causing disease or parasites. The Turkey Vulture’s sense of smell is so great that they can find a fresh killed animal a mile away! The only raptors larger than the Turkey Vultures are the Eagles and the Condors. What I find interesting is that they are the only raptor that cannot kill their own prey. They simply do not have the right talons to do this – their feet are more like that of a chicken. That said they can tear through really tough hides with their beak. In other words, the Turkey Vulture was never a threat to Big Red.

As I prepare to settle in for the night, Tiny Little is waking up. The early morning fog over the marsh is just starting to clear. You can see the parents, or siblings, or both back on the parent tree. Tiny Little is still sleeping like a duckling on the nest. Good Morning Tiny Little! Let’s get that gear box into forward today.

Tiny Little is also checking the nest for any little tidbits of leftover fish. And just like Tiny Tot he has found some lurking under those sticks.

Tiny Little was doing some prey calling and looking up in the sky. The morning fog doesn’t seem to be clearing. What a beautiful colour it is – that sort of golden pink gradually fading into the grey-blue-green. Lovely.

Update: Tiny Little had a huge breakfast. It is now mid-afternoon and Blue 462 is working on a fish that arrived. 464 is standing next to that fish and Tiny Little, 463, is ignoring it right now. She is probably still full enough from the morning not to bother. Unclear if Tiny Little has taken a second flight today. I stayed up waiting! But had to give in to being tired.

This is the image of the afternoon line up for a fish! 462 is eating, 464 is pretending to be Tiny Little and bugging his big sibling. Tiny Little is over at the side duckling style. Tiny Little is full from breakfast and knows that Mum will come to the rescue later if she gets hungry.

There is a beautiful peachy almost coral sky as the morning begins at the Poole Harbour Osprey nest. CJ7 and Blue 022 are roosting elsewhere.

Golden diamonds are falling on the nest of Blue 33 and Maya at Rutland Manton Bay. No one is home. They are all perched elsewhere. Blue 33 does make food drops at the nest for the two Bobs.

A little later, Blue 095 flies into the nest and settles down and then flies out again.

Blue 095

Oh, wow. Just look at that sun coming up over the Dyfi nest of Idris and Telyn in Wales. It is so bright you cannot see the perch!

A very short video of Ystwyth fledging at 7:59 am on 17 July is here:

It is serene up at The Loch of the Lowes. No one is home but it sounds like there is a fledgling on the camera perch.

What you don’t see here is that later, NC0 is on the nest, spots a fish, goes out and gets it, and gives it to LM2.

Early Morning at Loch of the Lowes. 18 July 2021

The only thing you can hear at Glaslyn are either bees or wasps on the microphone! Oh, it is so beautiful and green. It has been hot at this nest, 26-29 degrees C – and the birds are staying cool in the shade of the trees. Even with the heat the landscape looks so lush. What a gorgeous way to begin the day.

Early morning at Glaslyn. 18 July 2021

Thank you so much for joining me today. I so enjoy hearing from all of you. Stay safe! See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Byrwd Gwyllt Glaslyn, Dyfi Osprey Project, Scottish Wildlife Trust and Friends of the Loch of the Lowes, Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest, Poole Harbour Osprey Project, LRWT and the Manton Bay Ospreys. I would also like to thank the Port Lincoln Osprey Research Project and the PLO FB page where I took a screen shot of Solly’s recent tracking. And last but never least, I would like to say a huge thank you to Suzanne Arnold Horning for allowing me to use her images on my blog. She holds the copyright on them so please do not use elsewhere. Thank you.

Tiny Little finds a whole fish, Only Bob does a proper fledge and other tales in Bird World

Whenever there are sad moments in Ospreyland, I find it is always comforting to head down and spend some time with Taiki, the Royal Cam Albatross in New Zealand. Taiki was 170 days old today and she weighed 8 kg. She was at 8.2 kg. Around this stage in their lives the weight of the chicks stabilizes – meaning they will not gain vast amounts of weight as they will be focusing on getting their wings strong for flight. If, however, the chick’s weight drops too much, the rangers will provide supplementary feedings. Taiki is right at that point where they are watching her.

Lady Hawk posted a video of Lime-Green-Lime, the mom, coming in to give Taiki a feeding. If you haven’t seen the adults feed their chicks, please have a look. Taiki will be making food callings and her bill will be clacking at the parent’s. That is to stimulate the feeding. Taiki was taught this when she was just a day old. How precious. LGL does beautiful sky calls.

Tiny Little spent his first night alone in that big Osprey nest at Foulshaw Moss in Cumbria. When asked if Tiny Little would be lonesome for his older siblings now that they have fledged, one person on FB said, ‘Not the way they treated him’. Yes, Tiny Little might not have survived but he did! And we are all so happy. Tiny Little was flapping his wings hard wanting to fly but it will be a few days more. Hopefully he won’t get too restless.

Both White YW and Blue 35 have been alarming and flying on and off the nest. This happened around 6:10 am.

Tiny Little did what he had been taught. Stay as still as you can and don’t move – keep your head down!

By 6: 19 the disturbance seemed to be over and Tiny was looking around hoping for a fish delivery.

There are advantages of being on the nest alone. Tiny Tot at Achieva was a pro at finding fish scraps. Look what Tiny Little finds around lunch time! You got it – an entire fish hidden in the nest!!!!

He looks around to check and see if anyone else is around and then he tucks in. He is still eating when Blue 462 lands in the nest two hours later.

Tiny Little is not showing 462 what he is mantling. Meanwhile 462 is pecking around the nest to see if there are any fish scraps left. Smart one Tiny Little!

What an absolutely tranquil scene at the Dyfi Osprey Nest in Wales. The cows are out in the fields and Dysynni was in the nest with his sister, Ystwyth, waiting for a breakfast delivery from dad, Idris.

It is a beautiful day up in Scotland at Loch of the Lowes and both fledglings, LR1 and LR2 are in the nest waiting for breakfast, too.

Those two are just beautiful. Well done Laddie LM12 and Blue NC0. Looks like they decided to pose and look at the camera instead of turning away. Thank you! You are both gorgeous fledglings!

The Rutland Manton Bay nest is growing grass after the Two Bobs fledged. Little birds have been around but seldom do we see any of the Ospreys —–until there is a fish drop and then everyone seems to show up.

Blue 33 shows up with a nice Bream and both 095 and 096 land simultaneously. 095 gets the fish in its talons.

You can see Blue 33 flying off leaving the two kids to sort the fish.

Blue 33 returns less than a minute later. Is he looking for Maya to feed the chicks? He leaves as quickly as he arrives.

Blue 095 is starting to eat the fish. No worries there will be plenty for 096.

Have a look back in time. Here are 095 ad 096 exactly two months ago tucking into a Bream. Just imagine. They are so tiny and now they are preparing themselves to migrate in about six weeks. Gosh they were cute!

It is now around noon in the UK. Only Bob, Blue 496 decided to take a flying spin around the Llyn Clywedog Nest straight to the trees where Dylan goes around 11:47. Yesterday, Only Bob flew to the camera post but today they are counting this as his official fledge! It was a great one, too. Mom, Seren 5F was on the nest with him watching her baby take those next steps.

Seren leaves and Only Bob moves over to the rim of the nest looking at his target. Those trees that he sees dad come out of.

And he’s off. If you look at the right side of the image you will see his two legs flying and heading for the trees! Gosh that must feel fantastic.

A couple of hours later, Seren has a nice fish on that nest trying to lure Only Bob over to have some lunch. It was really interesting watching Seren look at or for Only Bob. At times it sounded like she was talking to him – has slipped trying to land on the rim and is on a lower branch of the tree. Only Bob is 50 days old today.

What a great day in UK Ospreyland. Things are going really well. Aran was seen flying high over at Glaslyn today which is a good sign of an improvement. Hopefully he is not having to contend with intruders. Z2 actually landed on the Glaslyn nest the other day – his nest and chick are at the Pont Cresor nest which many consider to be close to Glaslyn. Sadly, one of the chicks on the Charlo Montana Osprey nest died because of bailing twine. If you don’t know, it is what farmers use to tie up large hay bails. So sad. Montana seems to be having a rather bad year with this twine winding up in the nests.

That is it for me today. Thank you for joining me to check in on all the babes. Take care. Enjoy your Tuesday wherever you are.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I grabbed my screen shots and to Lady Hawk for her videos: Cumbria Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest, Dyfi Osprey Project, Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Friends of the Loch of the Lowes, LRWT and the Rutland Manton Bay Osprey Nest, and Carnyx Wild and the Clywedog Osprey Nest.

As the Nest Turns: Late Friday July 1 edition

It’s late on 1 July, Canada Day and by the time I finish writing this it will be 2 July. The week has been wrought with extreme heat and now a wildfire in British Columbia has left the citizens of Lytton with only 15 minutes to evacuate. My friends in the Kootenays tell me that this is just the beginning of a long, hot hard summer. Our thoughts go out to everything – non-humans and humans alike.

I had a question from a reader and I want to answer it here because everyone might be wondering, too. The question: Do female Ospreys always rely on the male Osprey to bring them fish even when they are not taking care of chicks or incubating? The answer is that it varies by female. Some female Ospreys do not fish at all and rely on their partner completely for their food and the food for the chicks. Those female Ospreys never fish. Some go fishing once their chicks are older. This past week we have seen NC0 on the Loch of the Lowes Nest go fishing. Indeed, in a short part of one day, she went out four times. She brought fish to the nest and ate them herself and fed some to the Bobs. Mrs G is known to be a formidable fisher. She is known for catching whoppers! Maybe she is in competition with Idris from the Dyfi Nest. Mrs G relies on Aran when she is incubating the eggs and brooding the chicks to supply the fish. Otherwise she likes fishing herself. Right now the couple are bonding after Aran’s injury and the traumatic death of their chicks, so she is enjoying Aran delivering some fish to her and likewise, he is happy that Mrs G is accepting his gift. That said, she caught a big one this afternoon and sure didn’t share it with Aran!

Mary Kerr did a short video clip of the historic moment when Aran delivered Mrs G the first fish after his injury:

As I write there is a severe thunderstorm warning for Missoula, Montana where Iris, the oldest Osprey in the world has her nest. They are expecting torrential rainfall, heavy winds in excess of 45 mph which is higher than what is forecast when Tropical Storm Elsa hits Florida. The system in Montana is moving NW at 10 mph.

I just checked and the skies are getting dark in Missoula and there is a little wind. Iris is not on her nest but she was there this morning. This is the scene at 21:33 at the nest:

This is Iris this morning. How many times can you say gorgeous?

Send positive thoughts out to everyone in the area of this system as well as our beloved Iris. There are many other Osprey nests in the area, too.

It is now 23:30 at the site of Iris’s nest and all is well. Let us hope it stays that way during the night.

Several days ago I announced the ringing of the three chicks on the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest of White YW and Blue 35. This is the nest of Tiny Little, Middle Bob, and Great Big Bob. Many did not believe that Tiny Little would survive but being clever and determined like Tiny Tot on the Achieva Credit Union nest in St Petersburg, Florida, Tiny Little did well. Of course, he won all of our hearts. As it happens, Tiny Little is now a very special chick in the history of Cumbrian Ospreys. Tiny Little got the honour of being the 100th chick ringed since 2001. Well done, Tiny Little!

There is their official portrait posted on the Cumbrian Wildlife Trust FB. Just look at the difference in size between Tiny Little and Great Big Bob. I would be afraid of that monstrous sister if I were Tiny Little. But, being clever, Tiny Little figured out how to manage rather well.

Blue 462 weighed 1.6 kg and is a female, Blue 463 weighed 1.5 kg, and the gender is unknown, and Tiny Little is Blue 464, the 100th chick ringed, andis a male weighing 1.6 kg.

@Cumbrian Wildlife Trust

The oldest chick, the male, on Rutland Water’s Manton Bay Nest fledged at 12:12pm today. Someone on site, later in the day, sent word out that 096 was sitting on the camera perch while Maya and the female, 095 were on the nest. Blue 33 had just brought in a nice fish.

By the time I went to check on them, 096 was on the nest and 095, the female, was flapping and hopping. Looks like she will fledge shortly!

I also checked in to see if Electra was on the Cowlitz PUD Osprey Nest and she wasn’t. The wind is picking up a bit and it is only 18 degrees C. So much cooler than the heat that killed her last chick.

Tiny Tot is sleeping up on the perch. There is a 40% chance of a thunderstorm in the St Petersburg, Florida area. However, other models showing the rain moving NE did not indicate any systems coming near Tiny’s nest. I never know whether to trust the weather maps or not. With all the technology they should be spot on but, sometimes they aren’t!

I took some images of Tiny Tot during the day thinking that it might be the last time to see her. I sincerely hope that is not the case. Indeed, I hope that she stays around like Izzi, the juvenile Peregrine Falcon son of Xavier and Diamond, in Australia. She could give Jack and Diane a hand. It wouldn’t be the first time a juvenile stayed home and helped.

Tiny is incredibly beautiful, even when she is mantling because of an intruder. There is an intenseness about her.

Tiny’s plumage is beginning to change slightly on her body. Look at the necklace that is getting darker. Remember the white ‘V’ on the head. She will always have that and the white making a heart along with the very symmetrical espresso lines from her gorgeous eyes going to the back of her head.

She is even lovely when she is squawking at intruders! Go Tiny! Let them have it.

Tiny will be really anxious for Jack to deliver a fish in the morning as she went to sleep without her regular evening dinner. She won’t starve. The raptors often go for a day or more without prey. Still, for all the efforts today – even with Jack coming to help with the intruder – Tiny needs her fish payment for doing security duty! Don’t you think?

Little Kindness is truly a sweetheart. Here she is sitting with Mom on the nest in Glacier Gardens late in the afternoon on 1 July. Just precious!

Kindness with her Mom, Liberty. 1 July 2021

There are several things that people look for when they try to determine the gender of a Bald Eaglet. One is the size of the feet and the second is how far the back of the mouth goes in relation to the back of the eye. The farther back that yellow line extends and the bigger the feet indicate a female. Kindness has very large feet. Just look at them! And that yellow line of her mouth goes far back. By this method, that would indicate that she is a girl. Of course, nothing but a DNA test or seeing an eagle lay an egg is 100%. I wonder if they plan to ring Kindness? Must ask! And I did ask and got an answer quickly. It appears there are no plans to ring little Kindness. I could give them ten good reasons to ring this eaglet. I wonder why ringing and keeping data on the birds is not as ingrained in North America like it is in the United Kingdom and Europe?

The three white storklets remain on their nest in Mlady Buky, Czechoslovakia. They are growing and growing and now are as large as Father Stork.

It is time to say goodnight to all of the birds and to you. But before I do, I want to leave you with a video that Lady Hawk posted today. It is the Golden Eaglet in the Bucovina, Romania Nest. The mother brought in the 6th roe deer today and the baby ate it all! That eaglet looks like it will explode. Enjoy!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I get my screen shots: Achieva Credit Union, Cowlitz PUD, Glacier Gardens Bald Eagle Nest, LRWT and Monton Bay Ospreys, Rutland Water, Cornell Bird Lab and Montana Osprey Project, and the Cumbrian Wildlife Trust. Thank you Lady Hawk for doing your videos!

As the Nest Turns – late Thursday and early Friday edition

The Cowlitz PUD Osprey nest can be really frustrating. Or maybe it is just Wattsworth that causes my blood pressure to go up. He brought in a couple of appetizers on Thursday, 3 June. Electra promptly fed the babies who were sitting up straight and polite wanting their lunch. The fish is between Electra’s feet – it really is small.

So Electra took it upon herself to leave the two wee ones on the nest and off she went to fill the pantry – and she did! Electra had a really good feed on that fish. She was hungry and she fed the little ones, too.

As the sun sets, everyone has had several fish meals. Electra corrals the two little ones under her so she can keep them warm over night.

And, guess what? Wattsworth comes in Friday morning with another tiny tiny fish for Electra and the kids.

And speaking of fish, Jack must be really happy to have Tiny Tot defending the natal nest. Jack flew in at 5:30:17 with a nice fish for Tiny Tot.

3 June 2021. Jack delivers a much earned fish to Tiny Tot.

Tiny Tot immediately grabbed that fish out of dad’s talons and began mantling it. While it didn’t look like there were any intruders or older siblings about who would challenge Tiny Tot for his evening meal, Tiny wasn’t taking any chances.

It was a nice size fish and Tiny ate for quite awhile.

There is a real preciousness in these moments looking at Tiny Tot – so beautiful a juvenile – perched. The golden glow of the setting sun shows off the beautiful plumage.

As the sun went down, Tiny Tot was up on the perch protecting the nest. Sleep tight, Tiny. Have fish dreams!

And early Friday morning, Tiny Tot is defending the nest again against the adult intruder! Poor Tiny.

There was a nice chippie on the nest of Big Red and Arthur. Big Red kept fiddling with it hoping that the Ks would come round to wanting their last meal of the evening. It was 19:00.

They had eaten earlier and had nice crops. Just look how full those Ks are! Those peachy chests make them look like they have swallowed beach balls. Big Red has the chippie ready for a feeding thinking they might want some more but, no. None of them are lining up to be fed with their beaks open. I wonder if Big Red would like a late chippy snack?

“Would you like some of this nice chippie, sweetie?”

Big Red did not have any takers. That had eaten a lot of rabbit earlier and it looks like they just want to sleep. It will be a chipmunk breakfast unless Big Red decides to have a meal after the Ks are asleep – and she probably won’t. She is hardwired to feed those babies of hers.

It’s Friday on the Cornell nest. Big Red is sunning herself on the light stand and it looks like K1 is self-feeding. Wow. Leaving some open prey on the nest has finally enticed this one to dig in there. Good for you, Big Red. We are now moving into two to two and a half weeks til fledge.

Laddie brought in one of those teaser fish – smaller than a Wattsworth Appetizer – to NC0.

She did the best she could with the little fish she had. NC0 your babies are growing and doing great. You’ve grown into being a very good mom. Look at the head of the one grabbing that piece of fish. All of the down on its head is gone. It looks like it got black oil on its head. Reptilian phase is coming!

Your word for the day: nictitating membrane. The word comes from the Latin word nictare meaning to blink. It is a translucent third eyelid. It comes up from the bottom to the top and has been described as acting like a windshield wiper. It cleans the eye and helps produce tears. You can see NC0’s nicitating membrane in the image below.

It looks like it is going to be a nice day in Scotland for NC0, Laddie, and the Bobs. The sun is just coming up. Laddie must be out fishing.

Blue NC0 is having a rest with the Bobs.

It’s Friday tea time on the Loch of the Lowes Nest and all is well. Laddie has just brought in a brown trout and NC0 is already feeding the Bobs.

Blue 33 (11) was right off the mark. He hauled in one of his whoppers first thing for Maya and the Two Bobs. This along with the big piece of fish left from the evening prior should be a great start to the day for this family whose nest is at Rutland Manton Bay.

Look at all those feathers

Idris was also up early and had a nice fish for Telyn and their two Bobs. At one point it was hard to tell what was happening but it looked like Idris was feeding Telyn. I am told he does this. What a sweetheart!

Idris comes in with a fish for Telyn.

For sure he did feed the two Bobs some fish.

Idris is feeding the Bobs.

And as the sun is rising over the Urdaibai Biosphere just 38 minutes outside of Bilbao, Spain, our little albino Osprey is waking up. Zuri is still alive. This is such a rare event – the first known for certain instance in the wild – that everyone will be learning something from this little one. There are rumours going around that the wee one is blind and cannot hear. But, we wait. Clearly its eyes are very sensitive to the light and, yes, if he lives to fledge it will have heavy challenges to overcome because of its plumage. Still, a miracle would not hurt us and this would be a cute one.

The rain has really been pitching down in Spain. Around 13:00 on Friday, a fish came into the nest for Landra. That wee albino one was up there with the other two osplets wanting some fish! In the first image it is facing the opposite way but it moves to get in line with the other two siblings thirty seconds later. Again, a miracle in Spain might be what we all need as some pandemic lockdowns are eased and others as Portugal begins another lockdown. Go little Zuri – eat, grow, teach us.

On Friday there is some thinking that the three have an eye infection. I will keep you posted. That is not clear from the image below taken today. Some of you might recall the eaglets in the Southwest Florida nest, E17 and E18 having conjunctivitis. Fingers crossed. Send warm wishes.

Oops. Turn around! Wait…who is doing the feeding?
It rained so hard for so long. The little ones are really hungry.

We still have heat warnings on the Canadian Prairies – the sky is blue and the sun is bright. The leaves are getting even more thick and now all the birds that come to my garden are hidden by the vines that grow everywhere or the thick lilic bushes. One thing I will really miss is that lovely lilac scent that enveloped us earlier in the week. The heat has really killed the flowers. Still, it was grand to have them when we did!

Thank you for joining me. Stay safe, stay cool! See you soon. I will be checking on the little one in Urdaibai and Tiny Tot throughout the day.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I grab my screen shots: Cowlitz PUD, Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, Achieva Credit Union, Scottish Wildlife Trust and Loch of the Lowes. LRWT and Rutland Ospreys, and the Dyfi Osprey Project.

‘As the Nest Turns’ – late Friday and Saturday edition

I don’t quite remember when the heavy rains started in the United Kingdom last week. It was a terrible time with many of our Bird friends suffering because of the unseasonable weather. Chicks died, generous people came to the rescue of the Glaslyn Nest, and at two different villages in Czechoslovakia, ordinary citizens are helping two stork families survive by providing food and dry hay. You might wonder why I say ‘dry’ hay but it has been chucking down rain and the nests get soaked. Because of that and the coolish weather, the wee ones are more susceptible to any type of virus or disease. Their system can get stressed. So providing the storks with dry hay is a fundamental way of helping them to cope in what is already a stressful situation – the death of a parent. I really applaud those who stepped up and are helping out. I hope that after things settle down in Glaslyn they might publish every detail about the feeding table they provided so that others in similar situations can more quickly help the Ospreys because of what Glaslyn learned. One thing we did learn is that Ospreys will eat fish that they did not catch. Another feeding table at Rutland in 2012 also provided fish but people forget and many carry on with the belief that Ospreys will not eat fish that is provided to them. Nonsense! Aran and Mrs G were very grateful and continue to be.

I had a question from a reader and I am trying to find out the precise answer. They wondered if Aran would be alright. Yes, Aran is getting stronger every day. It was exhausting trying to fish in Force 11 winds with flooding and intruders and then an injury to the feathers required to fish and fly well. As long as Aran continues to eat the food provided he will continue to improve. We hope that there are no more intruders on that nest to damage more feathers. We must also remember that those feathers help Aran with his flying and he needs them to migrate. Please continue with your donations – no matter how small. Glaslyn exists solely on donations to run their streaming cam plus everything else and now they are feeding Aran and Mrs G. The staff and volunteers are really amazing and they are also stressed and worn out. So don’t forget them simply because there are no longer chicks to feed – they still have Mrs G, the eldest osprey in the UK at 21 and her mate, Aran, to care for. Thanks!

If you read my blog on a regular basis, you will recall that I often say that a fledgling that flies off and returns to the nest to be fed by the parent is one that has a better chance of success. Indeed, when I hear that a bird has fledged and never returned to the nest my antennae go up and for all the wrong reasons. So, it was with great joy that not only did Fauci, Annie and Grinnell’s Peregrine falcon fledgling, fly from the nest on the Campanile at Berkeley yesterday over to the Evans building but, Fauci returned to the nest tower today. My goodness I bet he was hungry – he flew in screaming. Here is the video of that return:

I hope that his siblings do not try and copy Fauci’s landing when they return!

The two Bobs had a nice fish dinner before bed last night at Loch of the Lowes. Both of them looked wide awake and hungry after Laddie brought in a nice fish.

Scottish Wildlife Trust and Loch of the Lowes. 27 May 2021

Laddie is a good provider as long as the weather cooperates. He has brought in a couple of big fish. There is an enormous size difference and NC0 doesn’t always fill up the beak of the smaller one but today it stood there til she did!

It’s Saturday and Laddie delivered another fine perch to NC0 and the little Bobs. And guess what? The sun has come out in Scotland. My goodness. They were beginning to think that winter had returned. Looking forward to some nice weather and the nest drying out!

Little Bob seems to like to be on the right side looking up at Mom. It must be working. It looks like he is growing and he is certainly holding its own. Sure makes you happy.

NC0 is doing a great job keeping the Bobs in the shade. It is about 15 degrees and it could be warmer on the nest but oh, how I bet that warmth feels good to mom. And getting this nest dry is a primary importance, too.

Iris stopped in at the Hellgate Nest today. It was almost like she was posing for all of her fans waiting to get a glimpse of her. The Ravens took and ate her three eggs so Iris doesn’t need to come to the nest but there she stood looking straight into the camera. And look at that crop. Iris can now focus 100% on herself – she has earned it. Having fledged 30-40 chicks before Louis and one with Louis, she is the grand dame of Ospreys everywhere. Thank you for popping in to show us you are OK. Put your talons up, Iris. Have a fish smoothie on us!

Isn’t she looking good?

The IR camera has been tripped by the sun rising on the Dyfi Nest in Wales. Telyn was off for a quick comfort break and the two wee ones are awake and wanting breakfish. Idris will no doubt bring in a whopper as soon as he can.

It looks like Idris and Telyn and the Two Bobs are getting a break. Their nest seems to be drying out a bit. Idris came in with a nice fish and you can see that both of the Bobs are getting a crop and Telyn hasn’t even finished feeding them. Wonderful.

There is still only one chick on the Llyn Cleywedog Nest in Wales of Dylan and Seren. And if the other two eggs do not hatch, I continue to say that one healthy little Bob is fantastic. The image below was taken last evening as the sun was going down. The little one had a nice feed along with mom, Seren.

It is late Saturday in the UK and there is still no sign of a pip on that second egg. Apparently the longest incubation for a second egg was at Dyfi – Idris and Telyn – at 37 days. The second egg on this nest was laid on 19 April. Any way I count it makes that egg 40 days old. Perhaps it is not viable. If the third egg is 38 days old today, it might still hatch. We wait!

It is just coming on 5 am on the Rutland Manton Bay nest of Maya and Blue 33 (11). The Two Bobs are still asleep and Maya is expecting an early morning delivery from dad. Just look at that beautiful sky. These nests are often located in some of the most picturesque landscapes. How wonderful!

The storklets are just waking up on the nest in Mlady Buke in Czechoslovakia. The mother was electrocuted on the hydro lines and the father cannot fish and protect the nest. The villagers have gotten together and are providing fish for the family. They bring fish right up to the nest three times a day. People can leave donations. This is heart warming.

The live camera to watch this family is here:

Yesterday, Big Red and the Ks were getting soaked in Ithaca, New York. It was hard to tell form the weather forecast if they would even catch a break before the middle of the week. Big Red was still cold and soaked this morning at 6:40 am.

She kept those babies covered as best she could but around 9am when the heavy rain had stopped, Big Red got up and took a comfort break. It was out and back in a blink trying to find something on the soaking nest to feed the babies. Arthur had brought in a Robin – not their favourite but food anyway – late yesterday. Critters hide and birds sit and hunting is difficult with wet wings – even for Arthur!

By 11 am, feathers are beginning to dry. Big Red is preening and the Ks will be working on themselves too.

I would like you to locate the black dot behind the eye of K3 nearest to you. That is the ear. It is not yet covered with feathers. Mites can get in there or mosquitoes can lay eggs and cause horrific problems for the hawklets. That is why Big Red has to keep that area clean for them until the feathers have grown over them.

They are preening away. Those feathers are all important – they will keep them dry and wet when they all come in and they will help them fly so they can hunt. They say birds spend 70% of their time conditioning and preening their feathers.

Ah, what a great shot. The Red-tail hawks only get their beautiful red tail feathers once they have their first moult and are a year old. You can just see the little tail feathers beginning on K1. “One day I will look just like my mom!”

It’s 11:33 and already the rain on the metal of the lightbox where the nest is located is drying off. Oh, goodness, I hope Arthur has good luck hunting and that our Red-tail hawk family in Ithaca gets to completely dry out and eat before the rains begin again.

Today, Aran and Mrs G have been sitting with one another on the perch post of the nest. Aran has also been seen flying as far as the Visitor Centre where he has been chasing off intruders. This is good news because this is the farthest he has flown since his injury.

It is so nice to see them together. They will both regain their strength and Aran will heal so they are ready for their late summer, early September migration.

Thank you for joining me today. I am keeping an eye on Tiny Tot at the Achieva Nest. The intruder is still around and he is sure wanting to have a fish drop. Fingers crossed for our brave little one. Take care. Stay safe!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I get my screen shots: Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife, Cornell Bird Lab Red Tail Hawk, LRWT, Scottish Wildlife Trust and Loch of the Lowes Wildlife Reserve, Dyfi Osprey Project, Cornell Bird Lab and the Montana Osprey Project, Ziva Camera in Mlade Buky, Clywedog and Carnyx.

From Mantou to Murray to Missoula – a check on our bird friends

How many people wake up in the morning and wonder if something has happened on a bird nest? Do you look at the birds in your garden and wonder what kind of a day they have been having? For a couple of days, there has been some sort of stress at the Manton Bay Osprey Nest, in Rutland. It began with a headless fish and included an intruder this morning.

Blue 33 (11) immediately flew to Maya and the babies. Maya hunkered down over the babies watching while Blue mantled and sent out loud alerts.

It was all over in about three minutes but it must have felt like an eternity to Blue 33 (11) and Maya protecting their nest and their babies. Right now, there are many two and three year old Ospreys returning to the UK from their migration to Africa. For many, they have been away for eighteen months and this is their first return journey home. Everyone is looking for a mate and a nest and this nest on Manton Bay is prime real estate.

You can watch the entire process of protecting their nest on this short three minute video:

Ever since Blue 33 (11) brought in a headless fish that twice battered around the Two Bobs, Maya has been somewhat cautious whenever he delivers a perch. Sunday, the 16th of May, was no exception at Rutland’s Manton Bay Osprey Nest.

“Blue, are you really sure this fish is dead? You just wait here with the fish and the Bobs while I have a wee break…”

Blue 33 (11) kept staring at the fish. At the same time, one of the Two Bobs thought maybe dad would decide to do the feeding.

Blue 33 (11) only flew off the nest as Maya was landing. They are taking no chances with stranger Ospreys in the vicinity!

Maya approaches the fish cautiously.

The Two Bobs, having forgotten about the dangerous flapping fish, were ready to tuck in!

There are a lot of intruders on the Osprey nests at the moment. The two and three year olds are returning from their migration to Africa. Many have been away for eighteen months and this is their first time back in the United Kingdom. They do not have mates and they do not have nests and as well know, Manton Bay is prime real estate. Blue 33 (11) will not allow any of them to take his nest or harm his family!

There could be a couple on the Loch Arkaig Nest. The unringed male brought in a fish for the Blue 152.

And there is a microphone inside the Loch of the Lowes nest and you can hear one of Laddie and Nessie’s chicks chirping away inside the egg. She is listening!

The single chick at the Lake Murray Osprey nest in NH is doing fantastic. Have a look! There are advantages to being an only child!!!!!

Annie had the three boys over in the corner and she was behind them protecting them and keeping them in the scrape box last night. Grinnell brought in a banded shore bird of some kind for their late dinner.

As evening came down on Missoula, Montana, Iris was in her nest incubating the eggs. Good Night, Iris!

For the fans of the Port Lincoln Ospreys, Mom has been spending more time at the nest and Solly is doing great. Solly is 239 days old today and she remains at Eba Anchorage. Don’t you just love these satellite trackers?

Thanks for joining me today. Take care, stay safe – enjoy being outside if you can!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I grab my screen shots: Cornell Lab and Montana Osprey, Lake Murray Osprey Cam, UC Falcon Cam, Woodland Trust, and the LRWT. Thank you for the tracking information on Solly, Port Lincoln FB Page!

Wednesday up and downs in Bird World

Wednesday started off with the sudden death of EE2 at the White-tail Eagle Nest in Estonia. The little one was up, bright and cheery at 4:04 and then gone. There has been a lot of speculation. A heat wave went through the area with temperatures doing from 1 to 26 degrees C in a day. Those dramatic changes can put stress on wildlife. Eve and Eerik had plenty of food and the eaglets were, as far as I could tell, growing and filling up the egg cup. Yes, there could have been a toxin and for sure, everyone has been watching EE1 closely. It could also have been a tragic accident of some sort. We won’t know because the body of the little one will not be taken – so I am going to stop speculating myself and hope that EE1 thrives and fledges. EE1 was fed five times between 13:22 and 19:14 and appears healthy.

The three eyases of Annie And Grinnell were banded today. The chick on the left has been banded. The one whose wings are back and looks totally frightened is just getting ready to be banded. It looks a little frightened.

The eyases receive two bands. One is metal and has a 9 digit aluminum band. There is a second coloured band with four digits that is unique to Peregrine Falcons in the SF Bay region. No gloves are used in the banding process so that the banders can handle the birds safely. Banding helps with studies in survival and movement. It does not hurt the birds.

The three are all males.

The banding was an on line event with two people from the centre answering questions as they discussed the process. You can see the whole procedure here and listen to the questions being answered:

Can you tell which of the two ospreys on the nest is Tiny Tot?

Oh, my, that bird has grown! Someone looking over my shoulder said, ‘The one with the beard!’ Well, if those feathers were smoothed down, it sure would be hard to pick Tiny out because Tiny isn’t Tiny anymore. Tiny Tot needs to grow some more feathers for flight. Look at sibling #2 at the back. See the length of the wing tip feathers? And the next layer? It would be really good if Tiny got all that feather growth before setting out on its own. Hopefully Tiny will hang around the nest, as #2 has done, to get some more flight training and to let the parents, Jack and Diane, feed it.

Sibling #2 is on the perch post eating a fish and Tiny Tot has just acquired the 3:47 pm fish delivery. No doubt s/he is going to be really full! Look at the size of that fish!

Big Red and Arthur’s little ones are doing fine. K3 really is a corker. Poor thing. I watched it yesterday when it got behind siblings 1 and 2 and wasn’t getting any bites. Oh, that little one – not scared at all – pecked at that big sib. I was rolling with laughter. It was like a comedy routine. Early this morning, for the first feeding, K3 was up front. It takes a few days to figure out the strategy but those little ones have spunk and drive. No one needs to worry about getting fed on Big Red’s nest!

This nest has a lot of different food items for the Ks. Believe it or not, at this age, they are already imprinting those birds and mammals so that when they are older, they will know that it is OK to eat them. The eyases have to pack a lot of knowledge into a few short months.

Big Red goes off for a break. It is a nice warm day. Arthur delivers a grey squirrel and then returns with a Starling! Everything is fine on the nest of the Ks.

I did a quick check on the little osplets on the Savannah nest. They had nice crops – both of them – around 13:30 – left over from the earlier feeding.

The second sibling is getting a nice feed from mom. That is nice to see. There remains some rivalry that can be unpleasant at times.

The image below was taken yesterday, 11 May. It is Iris and for those of you who do not know, Iris got her name from the specks in her right eye. You can see them clearly below. So, even without any band, everyone knows that this is Iris!

Iris did not incubate the eggs in the nest last night nor did she spend the night on the perch. In fact, she left her nest in good time to go and get herself a good fish dinner and did not return until this morning.

Iris had a nice fish breakfast before heading over to the nest nearby.

Iris returned to the nest at 6:42. She had been away at least twelve hours. Iris is taking care of herself.

As the graduate student at the UC Falcon Cam said today when asked if Annie and Grinnell would remember the banding every year. He said, “Birds have memories.” There is no doubt in my mind that Iris is chained to her hormones during the breeding season. She migrates to Montana and begins working on her nest. She lays eggs regardless or not of mating. She has some urge to incubate them BUT no doubt, over the past four or five years she remembers what has happened. Perhaps she remembers and isn’t caring so much this year? I cannot answer that. Perhaps she knows that both of those eggs are not fertile. ——- I just want to continue to enjoy seeing her. She is an amazing Osprey.

Legacy at the NE Florida Bald Eagle Cam in Jacksonville was waiting for a food drop this morning.

Isn’t ‘he’ gorgeous? He, you ask. The reasoning is in part because of the ‘flat’ head but more important the mandible – the yellow portion of the beak/mouth does not extend to 90% of the back of the eye. I hope that makes sense. Instead, the bright yellow area below stops almost level with the front of the eye. Take your finger to see – and then notice how much longer it would be if it extended to the back of the eye. Are you a boy, Legacy? Of course, there is never 100% certainty unless a DNA test is taken or you see Legacy lay an egg but, it is a good indicator.

Samson came in with a fish delivery at 2:11:32 and he got out of Legacy’s way fast!

Wow. By 2:31 – twenty minutes later – there is hardly anything left of that fish! Good work, Legacy. You are a pro at self-feeding.

I want to close with a look at a power couple in the Osprey world: Maya and Blue 33 (11). Blue 33 (11) has brought a fish to Maya so she can feed the two Bobs.

There was mention about Blue 33 (11) and this nest at Mantou Bay at Rutland. Tiger Mozone said something very ensightful: “Blue 33 (11) not only wanted the nest but Maya, too.” Right on. As Tiger pointed out, Maya had first been paired with 32 (05) who was shot. Then she was with 5R (04) but he didn’t return in 2014. In 2014, Maya paired with 28 (10) who Tiger calls Wonky Wing – Blue 33 (11) made short shift of him evicting him from the nest. Maya and Blue 33 (11) did not breed that year but they started in 2015 and have since had twenty-one chicks!!!!!!!! Blue 33 (11) knew a good female as well as a good nest.

Look at those healthy Bobs. I cannot think of a better way to end the day than seeing these two strong future ospreys.

Thank you for joining me today. It is nice to have you here with me.

Thanks to the following for their streaming cams where I get my screen shots: LRWT, NEFlorida Eagle cam and the AEF, Montana Osprey Project, Cornell Bird Lab, Skidaway Audubon, Achieva Credit Union, UC Falcons, and the Eagle Club of Estonia.

From all the little ones…

There are so many bird babies around the world today thankful for their great moms that I thought we would stop in and check on some of them – and take a look back in some cases. I apologize if I didn’t include your favourite.

Thanks Mom Bonnie and Dad Clyde for finding us a beautiful nest tree and then stealing it from those Bald Eagles.

Farmer Derek Streaming Cam. Tree on the farm near Newton, Kansas that once belonged to the Bald Eagles but captured by Bonnie and Clyde to raise their owlets, Tiger and Lily Rose.

We did well. Look at us! Lily Rose and I fly all over the farm but we love to come back to the nest for you and dad to bring us some food.

Farmer Derek Streaming Cam. 8 May 2021

You kept us really warm and full with all those mice when it was snowy and cold.

Farmer Derek. February 2021

Thanks Mom. Look at how big we are – #1 Daughter and #2 Son.

MN DNR. Parents are Nancy and Harry. Oldest sibling is a girl, youngest is a male. 9 May 2021

Thanks Mom Gabby. I inherited your and Dad Samson’s stunning beauty and also your loud squeal – not sure Dad Samson likes it when I chase him! You and Dad have taken such good care of me.

NE Florida Eagle Cam and the AEF. February 2021

Thank you for keeping me on the nest and teaching me all those lessons after I got lost!

NE Florida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF. Legacy with a huge crop. 9 May 202

Mom, it’s Mother’s Day and I really thought I would be a great mom like you are. But there are people looking at the beak line and my eye ratio and the length of my hallux and they are saying I am a boy!

NEFlorida and the AEF Bald Eagle Cam. 9 May 2021

Thanks Dad Jack for coming to help Mom Harriet feed us this morning! And thanks Dad for not bringing in anymore toys so Mom can find us to feed us.

Dalgren Osprey Nest. 9 May 2021. Jack and Harriet are the parents.

Look, Mom Anna. We did it! I grew up – your first baby ever. Thank you for keeping me safe when that other juvenile came to steal my fish the other day.

KNF Streaming Cam. First time parents are Louis and Anna. This is Kisatchie named after the national park where the ancient nest tree is located.

Boy, Dad Louis sure kept that nest full of fish. Good thing we can’t smell very well, right Mom Anna? Do you remember?

KNF Eagle Cam. 8 March 2021

Thanks Mom, Annie. You are always fair when you feed us. Look how big we are growing. And just look at our pretty pantaloons!!!!!!!!!

UC Berkeley Falcon Cam. Annie and Grinnell are the parents on this beautiful nest in the Campanile in San Francisco.

Look how much we have grown! Thanks for taking such good care of us and feeding us all that pigeon.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom. I hatched just in time! Can I have some fish please?

Rutland Water Ospreys. Maya is the mom and Blue 33 (11) is the dad. This is ‘Little Bob’.

Aren’t I gorgeous? Just like my mom Lime Green Lime. My mom travels thousands of kilometres to find food for me. Then she flies back to Taiaroa Head to give me my squid shake. I don’t have a name yet. People are voting and I will know soon. Stay tuned.

Cornell Bird Lab and NZ DOC. Royal Albatross Cam Chick of the Year, Daughter of LGL and LGK. 7 May 2021
Cornell Lab and NZ DOC. One day I am going to fly like my mom, LGL. April 2021

Yeah, the sun is out and the wind is warm and our mom, Big Red is drying out just like we are. Isn’t she the best? She takes good care of us even if it is snowing or raining and flooding everything. Big Red is the best mom ever.

Cornell Bird Lab. Big Red is the 18 year old mom and Arthur is the 5 year old dad of this years Ks. 9 May 2021

Mom Big Red. You endure any kind of weather to keep your little ones safe!

Cornell Bird Lab. April 2021.

Thanks Mom for yelling at dad to bring in more fish so we both can eat. We are growing really big. And I promise to try not and be so bad to my little brother, Mom.

Cornell Bird Lab and Skidaway Audubon. The Savannah Osprey Nest. 9 May 2021

Thank you Mom for staying with me when I get scared. It is lonely in this nest sometimes. You were so great at keeping me warm when it got really cold here in Colorado. But, today, what do you think of the new hair style?

Xcel Energy Fort St. Vrain Eagle Cam. This Bald Eagle Cam is located in Colorado. This little one has done well and is just getting its dark thermal down. 9 May 2021

Thank you Mom Eve for keeping us warm and being fair with the feeding. We both get fed and we both grow the same! You and dad Eerik keep the nest stocked with food so we never are hungry.

Eagle Club of Estonia. Eve and Eerik are the parents of the two little White-tail Eaglets. 9 May 2021

Thanks Mom for not giving up on us when you were buried in snow for a month. We are going to get our satellite trackers soon and you can follow us wherever we go after we fledge! And also Mom, thanks for not letting Big get all the food!

Duke Farms Eagle Cam, Hillsborough, New Jersey. These two are really growing fast and evening out in their size.

Thank you Mama Lucy. It’s just me so far and that is OK. You are a great Mom.

Lake Murray Osprey Cam. Parents are Lucy and Ricky and this is nest number 8 for this pair since 2013. The nest platform is brand new in 2020. What a beautiful place to raise ospreys.

Lucy and Ricky have a beautiful place and a new platform in 2020 to raise their little ones. The couple arrived in the area in 2013. Since then their nests have been destroyed by storms. Hope this wonderful new Osprey platform survives.

Lake Murray NH Osprey Cam. 9 May 2021

Mama Harriet, we had to go away and get our eye infection taken care of by CROW. Mom, I am sorry I had to have time out because I was so bad to my little brother, E18. I promise we will be the best of friends in the future.

Mama Harriet, I kept my promise. E18 and I are the best of mates now that we are growing up.

You did good, Mom. We only fight over food drops now – just like we did when we were at CROW. Sorry!

Tiny Tot: “Thanks Mom Diane for bringing in all that extra fish. It was literally life and death for me. I promise to grow into a great mom. You will be proud of me.”

Achieva Credit Union Osprey Cam. 9 May 2021. #2 sibling on left, Tiny Tot on Right

Thank you for joining me today. Happy Mother’s Day to all the Bird Moms and to each of you that has inspired, raised/reared someone or something else. It takes a village!

Thank you to all the streaming cams listed under the images. That is where I captured those screen shots.

Bird Mothers of the Year

Every year we stop and think about the women who gave us life and mentored us to become independent adults. I want to stop for a moment and consider a few of the bird mothers. Last year I was able to single out one bird that seemed to give it her all and that was Big Red, the Red tailed-hawk whose nest is on the Cornell Campus. This year I have a few more to add. I am certain that you have your own list as well.

In studying the social behaviour of birds, one of the things that has astonished me is how complicated the lives of our feathered friends are and how the behaviour of humans has impacted their lives.

The birds are not listed in any particular order – I could not, for the life of me, rank them. They have struggled against the greatest odds sometime. The first bird mentioned does not have a happy ending and this is a warning about that. If you would prefer to skip this mom, then please scroll down to Big Red.

The first female on my list is Milda. Milda is a White-tailed Eagle. She worked with her long time mate, Raimis, and rebuilt their nest near Durbe, Latvia. She laid her eggs on March 12, 15, and 21. The last time that Raimis was seen was the 27th of March. Milda incubated her eggs and stayed on her nest, despite several intruders, for eight days without eating. Then on two occasions, she had to leave the nest to try and find food and was off her eggs for periods nearing five hours at a time. It is not clear how successful she was in hunting. A male WTE appeared and tried to help incubate. By some miracle two of the three eggs hatched on the 21 and 24th of April. The people of Latvia and those who adore Milda were overcome with emotion. But that joy was short lived. It was pretty clear that Milda was almost starving to death. She had completely depleted her bodily resources. The male brought a crow to the nest and the eaglets were fed and then he took it away. It was very cold and Milda had to eat. She had to leave the nest to find food. She was desperate. If she did not survive neither would her eaglets. It is like the instructions when you fly on a plane: put your own oxygen mask on first before you help your children. Did Milda know that her eaglets would freeze? was this a form of euthanasia? did Milda think the male would incubate the eaglets while she found food? In all of this, there was also an intruder. Milda’s eaglets slowly froze to death. Later that day she consumed them.

Cannibalism in eagles is a new area of study with the growing number of streaming cameras. In 2002, a group of wildlife biologists in Virginia were stunned when they observed a male eagle killing his eaglets alive and eating them. More reports of similar behaviour came in leading researchers to believe that the behaviour may be more common that believed particularly in times of food shortage.

Milda was a very devoted and dedicated single mother. The circumstances were dire. She could not help her babies if she could not feed herself and she was starving. We have watched birds mourn their dead. It is beyond my comprehension to understand how difficult all of this was for Milda. The lack of a partner and the inability of a female parent to provide enough food for their eaglet also happened at another nest in Latvia. That was the nest of Spilve whose beautiful eaglet, Klints, perished from starvation. Spilve mourned the death of her Klints. This year, she refused to use the nest that Klints’s body has become a part of. Instead, her and her new mate went to another.

I am really aware of the dedication that the Latvians have for their wildlife. What has caused a drop in prey? has it always been this difficult? and would it be possible to stock artificial ponds for these large raptors? Those are just three of my questions.

Milda feeding her two little ones their last meal. 25 April 2021

My second bird mother of the year will always be first in my heart- Big Red whose territory is on the Cornell Campus.

Big Red is even wetter. 8 May 2021

Big Red hatched near Brooktondale, New York in 2003. She was banded on 20 October 2003 in Brooktondale. She is eighteen years old. The exact history of her mates and the number of eyasses she has raised to fledge will never be known. She was known to have a nest in 2010 on the Cornell Campus and two years later cameras were installed. Her mate at the time was Ezra. Ezra was killed in 2017. It is the only year that she did not have a clutch. She bonded with her current mate, Arthur, that same year. It is entirely possible that Big Red has fledged no less than 35 eyasses. This year she has another clutch of three. Big Red is a devoted mother. By the fall she is already selecting which light tower to use as a nest and is working with Arthur then and to a greater degree in February to ready the nest for the upcoming breeding season. She has been encrusted in snow more times than I want to remember and soaked to the bones. She has been blown off the nest! Still she works and keeps those kiddos of hers full to the brim. As someone recently said, ‘No one leaves Big Red’s table hungry.’ And when her eyasses fledge she will spend days with them in family hunting expeditions so that they are as prepared as she can make them for the outside world.

Today, she was soaked to the bone and cold – even the babies are a wee bit ‘wet’. Those heavy raindrops wanted nothing more than to turn into icy slush. She fed her three little ones as quickly as she could so they would not get wet and catch a chill. Just look at the love in those eyes! Being a mom is what it is all about for Big Red.

Unlike Milda, Big Red has a devoted mate, Arthur, who is busy filling the pantry providing food for Big Red and the Ks as well as security for the territory. Arthur also gives Big Red much needed relief breaks despite the fact that she prefers to look after the little ones almost 100% of the time! Her territory is also prey plentiful.

Big Red will always be at the top of my list. She is just simply amazing.

A soaked Big Red. 7 May 2021

My third female is Diane at the Achieva Osprey Nest in St Petersburg, Florida. I am including Diane in my list for one single reason. This year her three eggs hatched and she had three osplets to raise. At the time the three were born (5th and 7th of March), there was plenty of prey on the nest. However, a week later the fish deliveries became irregular causing food insecurity on the nest. It was unclear whether or not the third hatch would survive. There would be days of plenty and then hardly any fish. If the babies didn’t eat neither did Diane. Many suspected that Jack, her mate, might have another nest. Diane began to go fishing supplementing the fish that were brought onto the nest and that is why I am including her. When she was able she would leave the nest and bring in huge catfish to feed her babies and herself. She was a selfless mom. The two older siblings and in particular, the second hatch, demanded more and more food. For days in a row the third hatch had no food. Even Diane acted on several occasions like the little one would not live. Then something happened. The food became more plentiful and she paid particular attention so that the third hatch was full. I call him Tiny Tot. This year Diane will fledge three – . Tiny Tot is the only one left to fledge and his feather growth is behind. And that is OK. Tiny Tot is simply a delight.

In the image below Tiny Tot sits in the middle of the nest with its full crop and its ever growing wings. At one time no one believed #3 would survive and most thought it would be stunted but Tiny is filling out all over. Diane makes sure that sibling #2 standing on the rim of the nest at the back does not eat all of the fish that comes on the nest. I have to give her like 5 gold stars for stepping in and making sure that the food is shared between these two. No one is left out.

Tiny is really growing. Maybe he is a she? 7 May 2021

Diane is on the nest with Tiny. They are both waiting for an incoming fish.

Diane on the left and Tiny Tot on the right. Not so Tiny anymore!

Tiny Tot can self-feed. He was the first of the three to do so. To survive he found fish bones with a little flesh on them and ate it. Diane does love to feed him, tho.

Diane loves to feed Tiny Tot even tho he can do it himself. 7 May 2021

As the sun goes down, Diane and her two little ones are full. Tiny is actually full to the brim. You can see that glimmer of the sun on his big crop.

The sun sets on the St Petersburg Osprey Nest and all are full. 7 May 2021

Another bird mom that has touched my heart in a way that I cannot quite put my finger on is Eve, the mate of Eerik, whose nest is in the Matsalu National Park in Estonia. It is so cold in Estonia that the geese had to stop their northern migration. Eve is a huge White-tailed Eagle – she almost looks ‘wooly’ because her plumage is so thick to keep her warm. She is the most gentle of mothers with her two little eaglets.

Eve does not have the prey problem that Milda had in Latvia. There are plenty of fish and other birds that Eerik brings to the nest. Eve carefully conceals them and keeps them fresh in the straw around the rim of the nest-like an old fashioned ‘ice box’. What they have had to contend with are intruders and lingering cold weather to the extreme. It is especially important because the eaglets cannot thermoregulate their temperature. They depend on Eve and Eerik for everything. Many mornings Eve has woken up to be completely covered in a cold frost. I am really looking forward to these two growing up. Look at the little one put its wing around its big sib. This is such a peaceful nest. Eve keeps everything under control.

Eve feeding her two growing eaglets. 7 May 2021

There are so many bird mothers whose lives need celebrating if for nothing else than they successfully raised their clutches. It is not easy. Humans have impacted their lives in so many ways it would take an entire blog to list them but climate change and its impact on prey, loss of habitat, plastic in the oceans, toxins, etc come to the top. I cannot even begin to create a list of all of those. If I continued to include images and write ups for the mothers, the blog could easily include Harriet at the Bald Eagle Nest in SW Florida in Fort Myers. She is just an amazing mother to E17 and E18. Those kiddos are well equipped to take on the world. Then there is Anna, the first time Bald Eagle mother, who had to learn along with her eaglet how to feed her baby properly. Kisatchie has thrived and is now branching on his nest tree in the Kisatchie National Forest. On the Mississippi River, the nest of Starr and the Valors was destroyed last year by the winds. Starr had to work with Valor I and II to build a new nest for the 2021 season. They built an amazing nest and now have three growing eaglets. Or what about the female at Duke Farms who spent the entire incubation period encased in snow? Her two eaglets are now branching. Diamond, the Peregrine Falcon, in Orange, Australia still has her seven month old fledgling living in her scrape box. Her patience is amazing and her and Xavier have raised a formidable falcon! What about the Osprey females who lay eggs and raise their little ones in nests so full of toys and blankets they often cannot even find the chicks. This year, Harriet at the Dahlgren Nest, lost one of her eggs in Jack’s deliveries! They probably deserve a medal every day for their good humour. Then there are the ones, driven by their instincts and ‘Mother Nature’ that want to be mothers so badly such as Jackie at Big Bear or Iris at Hellsgate? If certificates were given out, they would all receive them – every single one of them!

Here is Iris bringing in a whopper of a breakfish for herself. Iris is the oldest living osprey in the world – the grand dame of all Ospreys. She has fledged no less than 35-40 osplets – no one really knows for sure, that is just an estimate. Since the death of her trusted mate, Stanley, Iris has returned to her nest every year during breeding season. Her current mate, Louis, has another nest and another mate and Iris is now, by default, a single mother. Her natural instincts bring her back from her 4,000 mile migration to her nest in Missoula, breeding with Louis, and because she is both provider, incubator, and security guard – like Milda and Spilve – her clutches have not been successful. Her last fledge was a single osplet in 2018. Still she is there doing her best!

And Happy Mother’s Day to Maya on the Rutland Mantou Nest whose first osprey egg of the season hatched at 15:23 today, 8 May. You can just see the little one getting out of its shell.

Thank you for joining me today to appreciate the difficult circumstances each of our bird mothers face. There is a story for each of them! They are all much loved.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I get my screen shots: LWRT Osprey Project, Cornell Bird Lab and Montana Osprey, The Eagle Club of Estonia, Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, Latvian Fund for Wildlife, and the Achieva Credit Union.