Wednesday Happenings in Bird World

Gosh, it was just a gorgeous ‘fall’ day. No, it isn’t officially fall but the leaves appear to be changing and there is a ‘nip’ in the air. The birds are flying south and others are arriving home from their summer forays. One of those returning to her breeding area and nest is Gabrielle, Gabby for short, the mate of Samson at the Northeast Florida Bald Eagle nest near Jacksonville. It was right around 14:48.

She looks good. Oh, Samson is going to be so excited!!!!!!!!!

Samson you are such a cutie. As my friend ‘T’ said when she heard the good news, ‘Love is in the air.’ She is absolutely right.

It was a gorgeous day to go and find some pelicans and I was hoping for a cormorant or two. The waters of the Red River near St. Andrews did not disappoint.

Pelicans are the longest native bird in North America measuring in at 2 metres or 6.56 feet. The California Condor is the only bird in North America with a longer wingspan. The pelican’s wings measure 2.7 metres or 9 feet from tip to tip. In other words, these are large birds!

This is a small hydroelectric dam. These American white Pelicans often work together to get the fish ’rounded up’. Here they wait for them to come over the dam. There were six fishing together.

The pelicans dip and scoop for fish. They are able to hold as much as 12 litres of water which goes out the sides of their mouths before they can eat the fish. They spent a lot of time bobbing up and down.

Manitoba is the summer home of the largest number of American White Pelicans. They spend their winters in California or areas around the Gulf of Mexico. In late April to early June, they return to their summer breeding grounds here in Canada.

With the changing climate, it is believed that the American White Pelican will gain areas in Canada while losing them in the US.

Some were fishing while others slept and preened.

There were a few Double-Crested Cormorants with the pelicans today.

I just loved the silhouette of their wings against the water.

Manitoba is also home to a huge number of Double-Crested Cormorants in the summer. Did you know that Cormorants lack the ability to waterproof their feathers? Because of this they can dive deep because they are less buoyant but it also means that they can become water-logged and have a struggle reaching shore.

There were lots of gulls flying above the water. This lonely Ring-Billed Gull caught my eye. In the city they are constants around the garbage dumps. I did not know that they eat the eggs of other birds as well as little goslings, carrion, insets, rodents, etc. They are real scavengers.

Look carefully and you will see the black ring near the tip of its bill. That is what gives this gull its name.

This is the mystery duck. It was all alone. There have been several discussions as to whether it is a female Ruddy Duck, a female Northern Pintail, or a female American Wigeon. Or is it an anomaly? A Black Duck? If you have any idea, I would love to hear from you! I know that it is not a Mallard, not a Wood Duck, and not a member of the Merganser family but it is alluding all of the Manitoba and Canadian bird books. Maybe you are a juvenile. Someone really does need to do a more comprehensive book of Manitoba birds with excellent images.

The sun, fresh air, and climbing up and down gravel banks to the water has sure made me tired. If you have trouble sleeping, I highly recommend it as a remedy. One of my birding friends wrote just now to say that they had seen ‘my Ospreys’ today – so if it doesn’t rain tomorrow, I am heading north to check it out. They will be migrating soon!

There is little news in Bird World. Diamond has yet to lay another egg. The two little sea eaglets are eating well and behaving themselves. The majority of the Ospreys in the UK have begun migration. Aran was still at the Glaslyn nest this morning. The Black Storks from Latvia and Estonia seem to be making their way without hiccups now to their winter homes. It is just a nice calm Wednesday save for the arrival of Gabby back at The Hamlet. That caused great cheers.

Take care everyone. Thanks so much for joining me.

Thank you to the NW Florida Bald Eagle cam and the AEF streaming cam where I took my screen shots.

Things are happening in Bird World

Oh, just look who showed up on the NorthEast Florida Eagle’s nest in Jacksonville today – none other than the resident male, Samson! It was 7:23. So very nice to see you, Samson.

Samson is the son of Romeo and Juliet. Samson hatched on this very nest on 23 December 2013. Samson fledged and left the area on 22 April 2014. He was 120 days old.

At the end of the summer in 2019, in August, Samson arrived at the very nest he hatched from and began bringing in sticks. His mate, Gabrielle arrived on the nest on 12 September. In May of 2020, their two chicks, Jules and Romey, named after Samson’s parents, Romeo and Juliett, fledged. In 2021, they fledged their only hatch, Legacy.

The picture below is of Mama Gabby and baby Legacy in February 2021.

Samson has been seen at the nest earlier this month when the technicians came to do the maintenance on the streaming cam. Samson remains in the area of the nest year round while Gabby migrates to a cooler place – although, as I have often said, I don’t know where that would be this year! She will return about the middle of third week in September. It will be wonderful to see her back. Can’t wait.

Samson may be working on a nest but the Peregrine Falcon couple, Diamond and Xavier, are expecting eggs in the nest week or a week and a little bit. Their scrape box is high on a water tower, 170 steps up, on the campus of Charles Sturt University in Orange Australia.

This is Diamond on the ledge of the scrape box today.

Diamond and Xavier’s 2021 fledgling, Izzi, was the joy of everyone. As the only little falcon he was loved and spoiled by his parents. There was some concern he would not leave the scrape box before this year’s eggs are laid. This is the latest message from Cilla Kinross, the head researcher on the Falconcam Project:

“Izzi has not been in the box now for 12 days, but we think he is still around from calls. Parental behaviour continues as normal, with up to three prey a day being delivered to Diamond and preparation of the scrape. Eggs are expected soon (within a week or two). Generally, Diamond starts to spend more and more time in the scrape and her backside looks large and fluffy.”

You can watch Diamond and Xavier here:

Peregrine falcons are nothing short of amazing. Bald Eagles are big but Peregrine falcons are fast.

“Peregrine Falcon” by Jon David Nelson is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The cere is the yellow part above the beak. Now look at the nostrils in the cere. There are small keratinous tubercules – they look like small little bumps inside the nostril. Can you see the one on the right nostril of the falcon above? Those are what help the Peregrine Falcon fly so fast. They serve as a baffle against the wind driven in so forcefully into the lungs of the falcon as they do their high speed dives. Otherwise, their lungs would burst.

“Faucon pèlerin / Peregrine Falcon / Falco peregrinus” by FRITSCHI PHOTOGRAPHY is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Most Peregrine Falcons that you will see on a streaming cam lay their eggs in a scrape box like the one of Diamond’s, above. Some make their nests on the side of cliffs like this one in Japan on the island of Hokkaido.

“Peregrine Falcon Nest” by Ken-ichi is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Peregrine Falcons do not make their nest out of twigs. It is believed that this helps to stop the spread of disease from twig nests pests like flies and parasites.

Here is a short 8 minute video to introduce you to the speed and hunting methods of the Peregrine Falcon:

It’s a great day for Malin! We do not know Malin’s exact hatch date. There were three chicks and the youngest hatched on 18 June. Two chicks perished in the heat. So Malin is either celebrating his two month hatch today or his two month hatch and a couple of days, more or less. His first delivery came around 9am and the second was at around 10:14. Malin is really growing.

Here is Malin next to mum, Marsha, this morning. You can see that Malin’s feathers are growing in nicely. Look at the crossing of those wing feathers. Yippeeeeeee. This chick has really grown with the increase in feedings.

And look at all of the bands on those tail feathers – looks like a clean 7 – while, at the same time, there are no spaces in the wing feathers.

Oh, Malin, aren’t you beautiful?

Malin has gotten very good at self-feeding.

Malin is off to a great start on Wednesday. Terrific.

It is raining heavy in Latvia at the nest of Grafs and Grafiene. There are some concerns on the amount of energy used to keep warm by the nestlings.

This is the nearby ditch. It is 200 m long. A portion of the ditch has been closed off and fish have been placed in there along with the decoy of Grafiene. The decoy of Grafiene was painted by an active chat participant and installed by Janis Kuze, the ornithologist.

I hope you don’t mind if I correct just minor details. The beautiful decoy was painted by the active chat participant B.K. and installed by the ornithologist Jānis Ķuze.

These are the size of fish being put into the feeder for Grafs. So much effort. Now we need Grafs to find this spot for his three storklings. It is a very, very difficult time for everyone especially with the rain. If you would like to check on the Latvian Forum for progress, please go to this link:

The situation of the Black Storklings in the nest in Jegova County, Estonia appears to be better than in Latvia. Jan has come to the nest to feed the storklings 3 times today. The storklings have not almost completely depleted the fish that was brought on the 13th when they received their transmitters and bands. They appear to be healthy and doing well. It is not raining on this nest today.

The three storklings are 63 and 64 days old today. The average for fledging appears to be 71 days but then the young storklings are dependent on their parents for another two to three weeks before leaving the nest area. That only puts us at the end of the first week of September for these three to be totally independent of Jan — but, of course, those numbers are only averages. It appears there is time! We all must hope for these birds. They are very rare and very special and there has not been a lot of studies done on them.

The Forum with ongoing information on the Estonian Black Stork nest is here:

Karl II has been in to feed the one fledgling on the Black Stork Nest in the Karula National Park in Estonia. Oh, that fledgling was so happy. That was at 18:33. It is Urmas, the only chick still being fed by a parent. Kaia has left for her migration and the other two siblings appear to have left the nest area and might be travelling as well.

I know that there is much sadness and anxiety in the region for the two Black Stork nests that had late hatches. But, we must also celebrate the happiness of this nest in Estonia, that of Karl II and Kaia. Three fledglings, all healthy! We need to send the most positive wishes for Kaia and the other two siblings as they make their way through Europe trying to get to Africa. And, then, of course, for Karl II and this storklet when they begin.

I have tried to catch the number to confirm this storkling but it is nearly impossible.

The smudge is right in the way!

For those of you watching the North American migration, it kicked off Sunday, the 15th of August at Hawk Mountain in Pennsylvania. The first over the ridge that day was a Broad-winged hawk. There was a strong wind that day and the count was 4 Bald Eagles, 2 Cooper’s Haws, 25 Broad-winged Hawks, and 3 American Kestrel. If you would like to check on the migration in North American on the route over the mountains with all their thermals, here is the place to go for a day to day check in:

https://www.hawkmountain.org/conservation-science/hawk-count

It’s 17:16 in Cumbria in the UK and our second great Osprey chick survivor this year – Tiny Little Bob on the Foulshaw Moss nest – is waiting for dad, White YW, to bring her the teatime fish! Every day is a blessing to see you on the nest, Tiny Little (Blue 463).

Thank you so much for joining me today. Please send all your positive energy to our friends in Latvia and to Grafs for him to find the feeder and for the safe migration of all of the birds. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following streaming cams and forums where I grabbed my screen shots: The Forum for the Latvian Fund for Nature and the Sigulda Black Stork Nest, The Eagle Club of Estonia and the Black Stork Nest at Jergova County, The Eagle Club of Estonia and the Black Stork nest in the Karula National Park, Collins Marsh Nature Centre, Northeast Florida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF, Cumbria Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest, and Cilla Kinross and the Falconcam Project at Charles Sturt University in Australia.

Goodbyes and hellos in Bird World

Oh, my. The past few days with the dire circumstances at the UK Osprey Nests has really kept me occupied. There is growing concern at the Glaslyn Osprey Nest in Wales. The eldest chick of Aran and Mrs G died of starvation on Sunday afternoon. Ravens attacked the nest on Saturday – it was a ferocious event. Aran is now missing at least two of his primary feathers. There is hope that he might be able to fish soon; he is still able to fly. The weather has not cooperated either. Send warm wishes! The information from the Glaslyn staff has not been updated. They are doing the best they can in an extremely dire situation.

While all of this was going on, Kisatchie at the Kisatchie National Park nest on the shores of Lake Kincaid in Central Louisiana fledged. It happened on the 22nd of May at 3:22pm. Despite Anna and Louis being at the nest with fish, Kisatchie has not been seen since he flew off the nest. I hope that he has not gotten himself entangled in branches.

One of the good things that has happened is that Tiny Tot returned to the nest after a successful fledge at 9:54:24. The time of his return was 4:44:10. In sixteen minutes, Jack had a fish on the nest in celebration. Meanwhile, sibling 2 was finishing up his fish that Diane brought in earlier.

This is fantastic news. Tiny was able to imprint the way home to the nest and his landing was perfect. Tiny Tot was hungry and he was tired. He literally went into food coma!

Sibling 2 and Diane become aware of Tiny Tot’s return to the nest.

Here comes Tiny!!!!!!

Landing gear is down.

Perfect. Maybe that was a good enough take off this morning and landing today to get Tiny’s permanent pilot’s license. 🙂

Jack flew in with a nice fish as a reward. Isn’t it lovely? 2 is on the pole and Tiny is on the nest. Both returning to the nest and Diane and Jack continuing to supply them with fish as they gain in their flight training.

Tiny Tot is exhausted. Good night Tiny. It is so nice to see you back on the nest.

Tiny Tot must have decided that fledging isn’t all its cut out to be. He has spent the entire morning on the nest with no indication he plans on taking another flight today.

Idris brought Telyn a nice piece of fish to the Dyfi nest in Wales. It continues to rain and she has to keep Big Bob dry and fed. There was a pip in the third egg this morning and now there is a crack. Pipping sounds can be heard from the microphone underneath the nest. Two babies tomorrow! Hopes that this terrible Welsh weather can give all of the Ospreys a break.

Bob Three hatched at 5:21 am and here he is enjoying a nice bit of Flounder. It is still damp in Wales. Idris and Telyn – who have to be really sick of this – are doing great. It is nice to have some good news coming out of Wales.

The warm winds are coming and Telyn is beginning to dry out. There is another flounder on deck from Idris when the Bobs are hungry!

Isn’t she gorgeous?

The link to the Dyfi Osprey Project streaming cam is here:

There is also a pip happening at the nest of Seren and Dylan at Clywedog. That pip was recorded at 20:39:17. And wow – here he is. Good Afternoon Bob 1. Looks like you are enjoying some perch! Nice.

Oh, these nests are so wet. They are soaked through!

The link to the Clywedog Osprey streaming cam is here:

If I should ever return in another life as an Osprey, I want Blue 33 (11) to be my mate. It is 4:27 am. Maya has just woken up and already Blue 33 is landing on the nest with a fish for breakfast for her and the Two Bobs.

It is significantly dryer in Rutland today, Monday, than it is in Wales. The Two Bobs were even able to sun themselves in the nest later on. Blue 33 brought in some more fish and is keeping an eye while Maya feeds the babies. Love this guy! No one is going to mess with his family.

Here is the link to the Rutland Manton Bay streaming cam:

Yesterday, you could hardly see Bob 3 at the Loch of the Lowes Nest of Laddie and Nessie. I had never seen an Osprey hatchling so small.

And here they are this morning. Poor NC0 (Nessie) has three bobbing heads to try and feed. The Big Bob is very good at grabbing pieces and getting them to his mouth. The other two will figure it out soon enough. More fish dad!

It is nice to see that the weather might be improving here, too.

Here is the link to the Loch of the Lowes streaming cam:

One Osprey nest that I have been neglecting is Rosie and Richmond in San Francisco Bay. Their three eggs hatched and wow are those osplets growing. They sure keep Richmond busy bringing in the fish!

These are super parents and it is so nice to see that everything is well on this nest in San Francisco Bay.

In others news, Legacy the Bald Eagle Fledgling of Samson and Gabrielle at the NE Florida nest in Jacksonville has not returned to the nest after leaving on 22 May. There is some indication that the two eaglets of Harriet and M15, E17 and E18, have both left the nest. Will report any changes if they happen.

Thank you so much for joining me today. Send all your best wishes over to the Osprey family and the staff at Glaslyn in Wales.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams for they provide the screen shots I capture: Achieva Credit Union, Dfyi, Clywedog, LRWT, Golden Gate Audubon Society, NE Florida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF, Scottish Wildlife Trust and Loch of the Lowes.

I want to leave you with a couple of cute images of Legacy when she was wee.

Legacy with Gabby. 18 February 2021
Legacy on 9 February 2021. Legacy hatched on 8 February 2021.

Emotional Day in Bird World

The staff at the Glaslyn Osprey Nest in Wales are issuing statements on their FB page about the situation at the nest of Mrs G, Aran, and their three little ones. Aran has returned to the nest without any fish. The three little ones are still alive but for how long without food, no one knows. The weather in the area is not improving.

The Raven attack on the Glaslyn Nest can be seen here:

Watchers of Tiny Tot cried and cheered this morning when the third hatch of the Achieva Credit Union Osprey nest in St Petersburg, Florida fledged. It was 9:52:24. Everyone is hoping to catch more glimpses of Tiny as he returns to the nest for fish dinner. Fingers crossed.

Tiny Tot grew up to be a magnificient Osprey. We wish him a life full of fish and no drama! Oh, how I would like to know where you go and what you do, Tiny Tot. You are such an example of a survivor.

From the moment that E24 hatched, he has brought us great joy. That was the 8th of February. The little one was strong and survived an irritation of the eye as well as a bout of Avian Flu. The popular choice for a name was Legacy and it was very fitting.

Tears rolled down everyone’s face when Legacy left the nest and was missing in action for three days. She found her way home on 1 May and stayed with us for more than three weeks. She flew off the nest tree yesterday, 22 May 2021, at 11:31. It feels like this is goodbye. Samson bought in a fish to try and lure him back to the nest but, Legacy did not come for it.

Legacy’s father, Samson, returned to this very nest, the nest where he hatched, to raise his family. Because of the dire circumstances that happened to Romeo and Juliet, Samson really did create a legacy to his dad at this nest. Last year him and Gabby fledged Jules and Romy and this year, Legacy (such a great choice of name). Maybe Legacy will return in four years time and raise his family, if dad is retired!

Legacy will be 15 weeks old on 24 May. She is right in the sweet spot of the average fledge.

This little one brought us great joy – seeing her fight with her parents who were being surrogate siblings. I enjoyed particularly her interactions with Samson who is just the most amazing dad. Fly high Legacy! Take care. Return to us one day.

22 May 2021. Legacy leaves nest tree in Jacksonville, Florida.

Legacy is a week younger than E17 and E18 over at the Southwest Florida Bald Eagle Nest in Fort Myers. Talk about tears. These two were bonking maniacs. Then they got Conjunctivitis. And despite all the pecks, E18 protected E17 when danger came to the nest. They have grown to be best buddies – the twins that they are. They have played in the water in the ponds, caught prey on their own, returned to be fed by Harriet and M15. Here they are today sitting by one another on the branch. They haven’t left permanently. The time is, however, coming when that could be a reality. Buckets of tears will fall not only because that event will mark the end of a very successful season for Harriet and M15 but because it might mean that these two are separated. Each to their own territory. I wish, like Legacy and Tiny Tot, that they had a tracker.

There is an interesting story coming out of the United Kingdom of a brother and sister duo like these two actually setting up a nest together. (We do not know the gender of E17/18). The scientists have indicated that they are not concerned. So we wait but we might never know, sadly, the fate of E17 and E18. Whenever that last day arrives, they are ready to survive and we wish them boy voyage.

There was enough of a break in the weather at the Dyfi Nest of Telyn and Idris that Big Bob got to have two feeds. One of mullet and another of trout. A big crack has been noted in egg 3. Sadly, Bob 2 suffocated about eight hours after it was born. It was at a time when Telyn was desperately trying to keep the chicks dry and warm.

Here is Big Bob enjoying his trout dinner! Let us hope that this dire weather over in Wales settles down so that Little Bob will not have any difficulties. It has to be a worrisome time for all.

The miserable weather has continued over in Rutland where Blue 33 has been very fortunate in his fishing. The water has been choppy and murky. You can see how windy it is by the new punk hair styles of Blue 33 and Maya.

The Two Bobs are fine. Their plumage has changed and they truly look like their ancient relatives.

The same cold rain is still up at the Loch of the Lowes. Laddie and Nessie (NC0) are doing the best they can to both feed and keep the three little ones dry.

The cold rainy weather continues in Missoula, Montana. It was 4 degrees C. Iris returned to her nest with a nice crop at 10:17:42. She had not spent the night there and she has not, so far, gotten on to the nest with the eggs. The lingering cold and wet have insured that the eggs are not viable. So Iris will not have to go through the tragedies of past years. For now, I am simply glad that she visits the nest so that we can see she is alright! That is the main thing, isn’t it? Iris is, after all, the oldest Osprey in the world and we should enjoy every minute that we can with her. She is truly a survivor and when she doesn’t return from her migration, it will be the end of an era. Buckets of tears will flow. But for now, let us be joyful in her presence.

We know that Osprey fish for their food but Iris is starting to look particularly miserable with all the rain and cold weather. This is supposed to be her summer holiday!

For the lovers of Grinnell and Annie’s little falcons, this week is going to fly by fast. We could be on fledge watch in five days! How quickly they have grown. Today, the white dandelions have almost disappeared on the two oldest. You can see that the juvenile plumage is coming in nicely.

It is a damp day on the Canadian prairies. We have had that much needed rain and sun would be welcome. Outside my window Mr Crow is being difficult. The neighbours have been leaving kibble for a stray kitten. Instead of the kitten eating it, Mr Crow has been enjoying the crunchy bits. The dish is empty!

A friend of mine who lives in Maine says that this has been a different year for her watching the birds. This year she is more aware of the challenges that they face in their daily lives than she was last year. It is so true. They have brought much joy to us, now it is time for us to optimistically step forward and figure out ways to turn their world around.

Thank you for joining me today. I want to leave you with an image of a truly great bird mom, Big Red. I cannot even begin to imagine the mourning that will go on when she is no longer with us. She is eighteen this year. Every minute is precious. Here she is checking out the chicks as they sleep. She sees some things she doesn’t like and starts being the great mom she is – she is preening!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams. This is where I get my scaps: Cornell Bird Lab RTH, Achieva Credit Union St. Petersburg, NE Florida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF, SW Florida Eagle Cam and D Pritchett, LRWT, UC Falcon Cam, Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Loch of the Lowes, Dyfi Osprey Project, and the Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife.

Sunday Nest News

It looks like there could be a pip on the nest of Mrs G and Aran at Glaslyn. The first egg was laid on 10 April for the 2021 season. Mrs G is the oldest breeding Osprey in Wales. She hatched, from all that can be ascertained, in either 2000 or 2001 making her ten or eleven years old this year. Aran and Mrs G have been together since 2015.

You can watch Mrs G and Aran raise their chicks here:

The two eaglets on the Duke Farms Nest fludged today. Li’l was up higher on the branch and was followed by Big. They both began flapping and well – one of them knocked the other off the branch and they both went flying off to the field. That happened at 9:17:46. Neither have returned to the nest.

Li’l could not figure out a way to get around Big to go down. Li’l flaps. Big doesn’t move.

At 9:17:46, flapping and falling and both fludge.

The pair have not returned to the nest. It is now after 19:00. Perhaps the parents can lure them to return to the nest with prey.

Iris has been on and off the nest. One time she was followed by Louis. I wish he would bring her a fish if he comes calling. Geez. It is easy to understand, watching Louis land for mating, one reason why the female raptors have to be bigger than the males.

Iris has two eggs in the nest that she has been taking care of on and off again. She will never have another mate because Louis will not allow another male in his territory. So let us all hope that the hormones calm down shortly, the eggs aren’t viable, and Iris can enjoy her summer sunning herself and having some nice fish.——— My personal wish is that Louis would just stay home with Starr!

Big Red and Arthur’s chicks are growing like crazy. It seems even faster this year.

The clown feet are already coming and if you look under the white furry down, they are getting grey and speckled. My goodness.

Normally we would see a nest full of chipmunks but I wonder if Arthur cut that population down last year. This year the nest seems to be full of Starlings.

Legacy is still with us. The sun is setting and Samson brought her a fish in the morning. She is so gorgeous. Legacy, you can stay on the nest as long as you like. Samson likes bringing you fish!

Legacy ate that entire big fish!

And it is always a good day when Tiny Tot is still on the nest. Did anyone ever believe that little osplet, running around the rim of the nest begging for some fish, would grow and turn into this beautiful Osprey? Well, she has thrived – most of remember the day this nest turned around. Diane brought in a catfish and that day she fed Tiny to the brim and she never stopped feeding Tiny again! Something clicked that the little one was going to be a survivor. Below in the image is the evidence. Beautiful Osprey. Such a happy ending! Diane and Jack will fledge three this year, it would appear. Always brings tears to my eyes – tears of joy!

Sibling #1 returned the day after she fledged and has not been seen since. Sibling #2 stayed around the nest getting fed and getting its flying better. #2 was last seen at the nest around 10am on 15 May. Someone asked if the Florida Ospreys migrate. That is a great question – no, they do not. They stay in Florida year round.

They are there. You can barely tell them from the dry Spanish moss on the nest. The two osplets on The Landings Osprey Nest on Skidaway Island, otherwise known as the Savannah Ospreys, are doing fine. Both are growing and each has some distinct dark rusty brown markings. Beautiful babies this year. Let us hope they both stay safe!

Sadly, one of the four Winchester Cathedral peregrine falcon chicks has died. Let us hope that it is a one off and not rodenticide poisoning that could impact the entire clutch.

Meanwhile, Annie and Grinnell’s three boys are getting stronger. Their feathers are coming in quickly and they are now venturing beyond the scrape box.

Thank you for joining me. We might have some new ospreys tomorrow. Will keep you posted! Take care and stay safe.

Thank you to the following streaming cams where I grab my screen shots: Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife, UC Falcon Cam, Cornell Bird Lab, Montana Osprey Project, Duke Farms, NE Florida Bald Eagle Cam, Cornell Bird Lab and Skidaway Audubon, Achieva Osprey, and the NE Florida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF.

Tuesday Nest Hopping

I watched Legacy this morning. She seemed occupied by what was happening beyond the nest.

Then she moved to another branch and looked out.

She turned back to look at us. Then, Legacy lowered her head, did a ‘ps’, and flew off. It was 11:51:00 on 11 May.

It was a fabulous push off – and whoosh. Legacy left the nest.

There she is leaving the branch and flying out beyond the nest tree – in the two images below. What a gorgeous silhouette.

Notice the wing positions as she goes up and then thrusts forward.

Are Samson and Gabby training her to find prey elsewhere? Will she return?

And here is our answer. At 2:42 Samson coaxes Legacy back to the nest. He flies in and drops a small piece of fish on the nest. Sometimes Samson looks like a cartoon character – I promise you that is really Legacy’s dad standing on the nest! He has the most amazing legs!!!!!!! Almost like skinny jeans.

Here comes Legacy – she messes up her landing and has to fly around and come back on the other side. Meanwhile, Samson waits.

Samson sees Legacy coming and he is out of there. She mantled it and took only a few minutes to eat that small piece of fish.

Legacy was up on her branch looking out over the territory of her parents Samson and Gabby and hoping for another chunk of fish! So glad to see you Legacy.

Across the state of Florida, from Jacksonville and Legacy’s nest to the Achieva Credit Union Osprey nest in St. Petersburg, Diane appears to be giving more advice to Tiny Tot. Is it one of those mother-daughter chats about survival and raising her own chicks?

Oh, I hope that Tiny Tot hangs around the nest for 3 or 4 weeks building up her skills! The research indicates that the more food and the longer on the nest the stronger the possibility is of survival.

Blue 152 (female) and unringed male were still at Loch Arkaig at 16:09. Fingers crossed for a new couple. They are surveying what could be their territory. Looks like Louis might not give them any trouble. He is busy with his new mate since Aila did not return from migration on the other nest. Rumour has it Louis and her have at least one egg on that nest.

This is not the best screen capture, apologies. The female has a very beautiful necklace (she is on the right with the blue band). And look at the difference in eye colour from that of Tiny Tot. Osprey eyes are darker, an amber or orange-yellow, as a juvenile lightening up to a bright yellow as an adult. The female appears to have a bit of a crop – she was crying for a fish this morning – while the male’s seems to be fairly flat. Remember the crop is a pouch under the throat which is part of the bird’s (all raptors but owls) digestive system. I like to think of it as a holding tank. They might find prey one day and get ‘full to the brim’ – both the stomach and the crop bulging – to not have any food for a couple of days. The raptor can ‘crop drop’ – releasing food into the stomach.

The female spent some time rearranging the nest and the pair mated just after 4pm. Now bring your lady a fish!

Boy does he look grumpy. I hope it is just the angle of the camera.

Blue 33 (11) gets his status as super star of the Osprey world for his great devotion to Maya and his chicks. Here he is delivering a nice big one for the evening meal for the ‘Bobs’.

Of course raising 11 chicks in three years (2019, 2020, and this year if the third egg hatches) gives both him and Maya super Osprey status.

Blue 33 (11) is a very devoted dad and often spends time sitting nest to Maya in the nest while she incubates or broods.

Big Red took a break and the Ks all cuddled up together to keep warm. When she returned she had a fresh chippie for lunch. Watching the Ks learn to eat in the midst of a little bonking is fascinating. Big Red is so patient!

You can catch this entire feeding on a video. See if you can tell which K is which.

This morning the Ks were a little disorganized. Look at them five hours later standing still all lined up to eat. K3 knows that being in the front is important. This is more like it. They have dried out more and so has the nest. Almost looks like they have had a bath.

Grinnell was doing a great job feeding the three this afternoon. Those juvenile feathers are really starting to come in. Love the ‘peach’ at the end of the tail.

It is hard to imagine but they will look like Izzi in about a month.

Izzi is such a gorgeous Peregrine Falcon. Here he is at just a little over seven months old – 5 May 2021. Of course, we all want him to stay in his parent’s scrape box but, do they? In a nutshell, Izzi had three fledges – yes, three! One fludge, one that sent him into a window and rehab, and then a fantastic one. Each time he was returned to the scrape box so this parents, Xavier and Diamond, would accept him. But now, maybe he thinks the penthouse apartment on top of the water tower is his!

Look at those eyes. Izzi loves to see his reflection in the camera casing.

Jack brought in a nice fish for Harriet to feed the two osplets on the Dahlgren Osprey Nest in King George County, Virginia. It is nice to see Jack staying on the nest while Harriet feeds the babies. There is one egg lost in the nest that didn’t get incubated and another in the nest cup but from my calculations it is too late for it to hatch. That is probably a very good thing. Look at how big those two are!

I didn’t know if we would ever see Tiger or Lily Rose back on the nest tree in Kansas. And there, at 5:09 am is one of them sitting on a branch hoping for a food delivery. I think it is Lily Rose but I cannot be 100% certain. Bonnie and Clyde will continue to help them until they such time as they are able to catch their own prey – and that won’t be long.

Thank you so very much for dropping in to check on ‘the birds’ today with me. I hope that your day was good and that you are safe and well wherever you are. Tomorrow the Duke Farm eaglets will get banded.

Thank you to the following for their steaming cams. That is where I grab my screen shots: Cornell Bird Lab, Farmer Derek, Achieva Osprey, Dahlgren Osprey Cam, NE Florida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF, UC Falcon Cam, Charles Sturt University at Orange, Australia and the Falcon Project, Woodland Trust and People Postcode Lottery, Scottish Wildlife Trust, and the LRWT Manton Bay Ospreys.

Saturday Nest Hopping

As many of you know, I have a ‘soft’ spot for several of our avian friends and clearly, Legacy, Tiny ‘Biggie’ Tot, and the Ks are at the top of that list but, in truth, there are so many amazing birds that have brought me joy that it is impossible to give each one of them the air time that they truly deserve. That said, Tiny is going to fledge in about a week. Legacy is still home but it won’t be long until she is gone into the big world, too. That is why I am spending so much time with them.

Tiny Tot working his wings. 7:15 pm. 8 May 2021

This morning Legacy really lucked out. At 9:30:16, she sees her parent coming in with food and she starts squealing. She flies down to the nest six seconds later to retrieve that fish from her dad, Samson.

Then at 2:43:25 Legacy starts squealing again. She flew down from her branch so quickly that she sent Samson off the nest with the fish. He had to come around and land again. Wow, it was a whopping piece of nice fresh fish. Legacy will be full until tomorrow for sure!

That is a really large chunk of fish that Samson has brought Legacy.

Legacy is learning how to hold the fish with all of her talons so it is easier to eat and doesn’t move around and so that no one steals her dinner!

Oh, Legacy is doing a really good job with the self-feeding.

Legacy’s crop is as full as it can be! Isn’t she just gorgeous?

Richmond is busy bringing in fish for Rose and the gang. Like all the dads, he loves the head. He has nice crop. Richmond is a great provider. It looks like Rosie is keeping the toys and hats out of the nest for now.

There they are. Three tiny little Ospreys.

Aran brought in a really nice flounder for Mrs G today in celebration of Mother’s Day. There are the three eggs that Mrs G is incubating.

Big Red and the Ks are beginning to dry out. Oh, it has been a soggy couple of days on this Red-tail Hawk nest.

Precious. Well behaved. Big Red always has everything under control.

Blue 33 (11) brought in a nice fish for Maya to feed ‘Little Bob’. There he is not even a day old. Oh, so cute.

The two little ones at The Landings Skidaway Island Osprey nest are growing.

Can you find them? Look carefully.

Still looking a little reptilian.

You can see the big crop on the eldest one and the youngest still being submissive in the image below. These little ones learn quickly – if they survive – to keep their head down, let the dominant one eat, and then go for it. So, like Tiny Tot they wait, listen, and get ready to jump.

And there is the little one getting a nice feed.

Tiny ‘Biggie’ Tot is enjoying a nice fish meal as I type this. Indeed, Tiny has had a lot of fish today. He might have even had more if it had not been for sibling #2 losing a whole catfish off the edge of the nest. This last delivery came at 8:11:58. You can just hear Tiny Tot squealing, “It’s mine”. If you look you will notice that Tiny still has a crop from earlier in the day.

Jack is so funny. He really is not comfortable feeding the kids. He keeps looking around for Diane. Meanwhile, Tiny must be thinking “just give me the fish, I can feed myself.” Turns out Jack is OK at feeding the little one.

Tiny is still being fed as the IR camera comes on and the sun is going down in St Petersburg.

This is a lovely image of Tiny Tot by Diane with sibling #2 eating its fish in the back. I want to try and get a really good front image of Tiny tomorrow. It appears that Tiny is getting a dark necklace. If that is the case, I am going to have to stop calling Tiny ‘Biggie’ Tot a ‘he’.

Tiny’s wings are getting so big and the tail feathers are growing nicely. The plentiful food in the last couple of weeks has made a big difference in Tiny’s life.

Thank you for joining me as we hopped, skipped, and jumped from nests today. Take care and all the best.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams. That is where I get my screen shots. They are: Achieva Credit Union, Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, Cornell Bird Lab and Skidaway Audubon, Golden Gate Audubon Ospreys, NE Florida Eagle Cam and the AEF, LRWT Rutland Osprey Project, and Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife.

Babies, Branching, and Bittersweet

It is all too quick. One minute they are little chicks bonking and bopping like the three Ks of Big Red and Arthur and then they are branching and fledging. It is all bittersweet.

Arthur has already begun to line prey up around the egg cup at the Fernow Light Tower nest in Ithaca, New York. Look at the crop on K1. I never get tired of watching these little eyasses grow. Arthur and Big Red are such devoted parents.

6 March 2021

Adorable. Simply adorable.

Oh, look at those little cutie pies. The Ks. 6 May 2021

Annie and Grinnell’s eyasses are a little older than the Ks. Their pin feathers are really growing in and they now spend their time preening, sleeping, or eating!

Look, you can see their little tail feathers starting to grow! People say the feather growth makes the eyasses itchy. How would a human know what it feels like to grow feathers? Birds are the only living thing on the planet that has them.

They are starting to get to the clown foot stage, too. Oh, they love that pigeon Grinnell is feeding them.

It is raining in Estonia and Eve is very careful not to get the little ones wet. Until they have their contour feathers they are not protected. Thermal down will help them against the cold but for now, they have to rely on mom to keep them both warm and dry.

I included the image below for two reasons. The first is the distinctive white tail feathers of the White-tailed eagles. Aren’t they gorgeous? And the second reason is to have a look at the feathers. Each of Eve’s feathers has a central shaft with tiny barbules that lock together like Velcro. They lay flat and make the bird waterproof. Feathers grow out of skin follicles.

White-tail eagles are the largest apex raptors in Europe. They also have the largest average wing span of any eagle in the world. Their wings span averages 2.4 metres or 8 feet. Did you know that they are on the coat of arms of Germany? They are Germany’s national bird just like the Bald Eagle is the national bird of the United States.

Today, both Kisatchie at the Kistachie National Forest Bald Eagle nest and one of the pair of the Bald Eaglets at Duke Farms branched. Kisatchie had no one to cheer him on but the eaglet that branched below got a high five from its sibling for a job well done. It won’t be long til the sib is jumping up on that branch, too!

We are still on hatch watch with Maya and Blue 33 (11) at Rutland Mantou Bay. Tomorrow the first egg laid will be 38 days old (May 7).

And, of course, the bittersweet. In a month or so, E17 and E18 along with Legacy will leave us to make their own way out into the world. And sooner than I want, Tiny ‘Biggie’ Tot will fledge.

Legacy is waiting for Samson to bring her the evening meal. It is nearly 7:30 and he normally visits the nest around 5:30 with a food drop.

Legacy is not starving. Remember, Gabby and Samson are trying to teach her about what life will be like outside of the nest. Food is not always plentiful and eagles do not eat every day in the wild. Legacy had a squirrel yesterday and a big hunk of fish the day before. It is nearly 8:30 p, in the image below and it seems Legacy might have to wait and hope for breakfast.

Meanwhile, Tiny ‘Biggie’ Tot is having some nice fish. Diane seems to really enjoy feeding Tiny. Often they are on the nest together as #2 sibling flies around and lands on the perch pole. There has been no sighting of #1 sibling. She fledged, returned to the nest once and is MIA. Normally, the raptors depend on their parents for food from 4-6 weeks after fledged (an average overall – some stay longer). They eat at the nest and strengthen their flying muscles. Sometimes the parents feed them ‘off nest’. It is not clear what is happening with #1 sibling and because she is not banded, we will never know.

I am clearly going to miss Legacy and Tiny Tot when the fledge. Unless there is some very distinctive marker – like the dots in Iris’s left eye or the tear in the wing of WBSE 24, unringed birds are simply not that recognizable, one from the other.

And the last news of the day, Iris, the oldest living Osprey in the world laid her first egg of the 2021 season at her Hellgate Nest in Missoula, Montana today at 18:04:31. I would like to hope that if nature intends it, Iris would get to be a mother again. Her last successful hatch with Louis was in 2018. As you know, I wish this day had not come but it has and now we wait to see how the season will twist and turn.

There is a new director for the Cornell Bird Laboratory, Dr Ian Owens. In an interview that came out in the latest edition of Living Bird, Dr Owens remembers the bird that changed his life. He was fifteen and the bird was an Eurasian Marsh-Harrier. Dr Owens will take charge in July.

Like Dr Owens, there are many of you reading this that will recall the first time that a bird influenced your life. Mine was over four and a half years ago when I met Sharpie’s female mate. I haven’t seen her for awhile but Sharpie stopped by today. I rejoice in seeing him – whether it is for a few minutes or an hour. They certainly changed my life and I will be forever grateful. It is just like the joy that all of the birds give us each day.

So take care everyone and remember – March 8 is Bird Count Day. I will remind you tomorrow with the link so you can submit your count. It helps everyone understand the perils of migration. Thank you for joining me!

Thank you to the following streaming cams where I get my screen shots: NE Florida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF, Achieva Credit Union, The Eagle Club of Estonia, UC Falcon Cam, Duke Farms, Cornell Bird Lab RTH, Cornell Bird Lab and the Montana Osprey Project, and LRWT Rutland.

K3 has hatched and other news in Bird World

All of the Ks at the Red-tail Hawk nest on the Fernow Light Tower on the campus of Cornell University have hatched. Big Red and Arthur welcomed K3 sometime in the wee hours of the morning. K3 has its big sibs for bookends today. Arthur is prepared. There is lots of prey of all kinds around the nest. I promise you those furry creatures will grow in dimension to line the nest bowl and fill the pantry at the same time!

K1 is wanting to make sure that the other two siblings know it is the oldest. Big Red has her own way of dealing with this. If the eyasses don’t line up nice and eat quietly, she will sit on them! Normally she feeds the biggest and loudest first but in a week you will begin to see K3 figure out how to get up to the front of the line. So nice to see some sun coming out in Ithaca, NY.

Kistachie, the sole occupant of the Bald Eagle nest in the Kistachie National Forest in Central Louisiana branched this morning. The official time was 6:08:12. Anna and Louis are his parents and he was rewarded with a nice fish from Kincaid Lake.

Boy those talons sure can grip! He is going straight up! Wow
Kisatchie can really climb that straight branch! 6 May 2021
Kisatachie has a nice fish breakfast
Kincaid Lake where Louis fishes

Legacy really enjoyed the squirrel that Samson brought in around 5:30 last evening, 5 May.

Legacy is staying really close to the nest tree but it doesn’t mean she is out of danger. At 6:44:29 this morning Legacy was knocked off her branch by a hawk! Yes, she recovered and it is one of the issues of being at the top of the food chain. Crows, Blue Jays, Hawks – all want the big birds out and away. Go!

Thank goodness Legacy was alright. She got back up on her look out branch. Let’s see if Samson brings her dinner around 5:30 again. I think that they are training her to come to the nest tree for food and also because she has no sibling, Gabby is being a surrogate sibling – as is Samson – trying to train Legacy to survive in that big world out there.

Legacy is simply stunning. She is such a beautiful juvenile Bald Eagle.

The news from the UK Osprey nests is all about the weather. The rain is still pitching it down in Wales and Telyn, Mrs G, and all the other females are simply soaked to the bone. At the Loch Garten nest there is snow!

This is the scene just the day before. The male is AX6. The female is unringed. Oh, these poor birds. What a freak snow storm they are having today!

It is a little dreary in Estonia for the White-tail Eagles, Eve and Eerik and their two little ones. Still, look closely. Eerik has the nest full of fish for these two who are moving into a fast growth phase. Oh, they are doing so well!

Tiny ‘Biggie’ Tot is soooooo beautiful. This afternoon he has busied himself watching the traffic below the nest tower.

Yesterday afternoon, Tiny took the opportunity of an empty nest to really flap his wings and get those wing muscles strong. Look at that tail. Those feathers are really coming in nicely. So happy for this little one to get to live and be a fish eagle!

Tiny has not been hungry for a couple of weeks now and the energy from that food is really showing in its feather growth and the body fattening up. I no longer log every bite that Tiny Tot takes but suffice it to say that he had at least two fish yesterday in total. Not bad! Diane brought in a catfish late – in fact she brought in two fish in the evening. Both Tiny and #2 were full and Diane also go to enjoy some fish.

Thank you for being with me today. That is a quick check in with some of our favourites in Bird World. Stay safe!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams. I get my screen shots from those. They are: Achieva Credit Union, NE Florida Bald Eagle nest and the AEF, KNF, Friends of Loch Garten, Scottish Wildlife Trust, The Eagle Club of Estonia, and the Cornell Bird Lab RTH.

Oh, baby…it’s Tuesday in Bird World

Little K2 made its appearance in the world sometime before 6am but no one is precisely sure when. It was raining in Ithaca and there was no way that Big Red was going to let those two babies of hers get wet!

Pause for a second and look at the crop on K1 in the image below. Remember. Big Red will not let one of her babies go hungry. I am so glad she has Arthur. He is five years old and a dynamo when it comes to hunting. She made a wise choice in that young man when Ezra was killed. Arthur is an energetic and passionate provider in a land of plenty (so far).

If you want to watch Big Red and Arthur raise the Ks and if you also want to join the regular chat once it is started, here is the place to go. There are two cameras. – And lucky for us, we have cameras on Big Red. Hers is one of only two Red Tail Hawk streaming cams in the world that I know. It is an extremely active nest where the eyasses change quickly.

Samson brought Legacy a huge piece of fish yesterday. It was so big that both he and Gabby got to eat some. This morning Legacy is on the nest hoping for another prey drop while Gabby surveys the windy skies. It is 31 degrees C in Jacksonville and the water could be choppy.

How much do the stormy hot days play into the ability of the Bald Eagles to catch fish? is it worse on the weekend with boats and more people in the water? Were all members of the family hungry? Some of these questions can be answered but, not all of them. We will never know if Legacy was lost from her nest for three days but we might imagine she could have been. Were the parents feeding her off the nest? We don’t know. Was she getting her own food? We don’t know. What we do know is that she needs much more time on the nest to learn to self-feed and she needs to imprint her environment so she can find her way easily to the nest if she does a fly about or gets chased by little birds. The crows have been about the nest. Legacy is only 12 weeks old and has much to learn to survive in the wild!

I do not even know what to say. Everyone knows that I get antsy if an Osprey nest has three eggs on it but can you imagine trying to feed five? Well, the bonded pair at the Osprey nest in East Hampton, New York has FIVE eggs on it as of this morning!

If you want to watch the activity on this nest and the little tub boats that go up and down the water way, here you go:

Tiny ‘Biggie’ Tot the Raptor is doing amazing. The peace on the nest now that #1 sibling has fledged is palpable. #2 loves to fly around the nest and Tiny is happy to watch. This morning everyone ate and got bombarded by the local Blue Jay.

Tiny is doing so well. For me, this is nothing short of a miracle. Everyone believed he would not survive. But thrive is what this wonderful fish eagle is doing. It is simply joyful. He is laying flat on the nest watching the Blue Jay pester sibling #2.

Little birds can be just annoying to the bigger raptors but they can also be very dangerous. Often they cause the eagles and Ospreys to fludge – leave the nest early without intent. They may chase them away from the nest and the territory of their parents before the juveniles are able to imprint how to get back to their nest. Everyone is wondering what happened to #1 after she fledged and that could be your answer. The Blue Jays have been pests now for a couple of weeks. They might have a nest nearby. Normally the natal nest will be the centre of the ospreys life after fledge for at least a month or six weeks. The father will continue to bring food to the nest as the young ones increase their flying and landing skills. It is also possible that some of the fledglings are fed ‘off’ nest.

If you are interested in a well written, easy to understand book on Ospreys, I highly recommend Ospreys: The Revival of a Global Raptor by Alan F. Poole. Poole is an expert on Ospreys and this is a particularly engaging book for everyone.

I thought I would check in on Big Red and the two Ks before I closed – and there she is feeding them again! Raptors grow quickly. They condense a lot of change in a short time frame. These two will probably triple their body weight in the first eight days! Laura Culley once told me that human babies would need to gain 15 lbs a day to grow as fast as the hawks. Wow. The two little ones in the image below will always have crops – never fear. There will be no anxious moments. This nest is a pleasure to observe!

Everything is going as expected in Bird World this morning except for an Osprey nest in Wales where it has snowed. I will report on that later today or tomorrow. I am also watching the plight of the Osprey couple at Lyn Brenig in Northern Wales whose platform was destroyed by vandals. Wales Water is hoping the pair will relocate and lay their second egg – which is due today – on another close nest structure they erected for them. Thank you so much for joining me!

Thank you to Cornell Bird Lab and the RTH cam, Achieva Credit Union, and Marders Osprey Cam. I grab my screen shots from their streaming footage.