Thursday Morning at Dale Hollow and other news in Bird World

24 March 2022

Please pardon any spelling or grammar issues today. I have not had time to proof this report, unfortunately. Thank you!

So far it is a pretty good morning even at Dale Hollow Lake Bald Eagle nest on the border of Tennessee and Kentucky in the US. I turned on my computer just as a small fish was brought in my River, with its head, at 08:11:14.

Big goes to intimidate Middle at 08:23:49 but it is not the level of frenzy that Middle experienced late on the 23rd. Big ate all of the fish that came in. It was finished at 08:35:16. Then River moved over to the piece of Sucker that was still on the nest at 08:36:29.

I was encouraged by River’s actions as she clearly seemed to have feeding Middle in her mind. Middle turned to River to eat at 08:37:23 and then Big entered the picture pushing herself between River and Middle after she had a PS.

It was evident that both Big and Middle had eaten earlier as Middle had a nice crop.

River began feeding Middle at 08:38:25.

Eight minutes later, at 08:46:15, Big decides it wants to eat and starts intimidation. It ate a few bites.

River tries again to feed Middle at 08:47:33. River stops feeding at 08:47:25. There is still a piece of the sucker left. The nest is quiet of any animosity. At 09:03:38 Big turns and towers over Middle and does nothing! River returns to the nest. She is aerating the area by the small piece of remaining sucker. Big moves down at 10:01:20 and River feeds Big all the Sucker.

By 10:11:40 Middle is up at the top of the nest on the left being fed the rest of the old fish tail (not much on it). Big ignores the whole thing! Both eaglets are full. It is just after 10:15 on the nest.

Despite the modest attempts of intimidation, Middle ate this morning and has a nice crop when I stop watching. Big also has a crop. Hopefully more larger fish will come on the nest. Indeed, I hope that obey knows where to find more suckers! We can be joyful. This morning has been good for Middle!

River returns to the nest later to aerate. It is now 11:35. No more food items but not expected. Both Middle and Big have big crops still!

Middle had a really healthy PS at 11:32:41.

There is Big’s Crop. Because Big is such a large bird – no doubt she is a she – her food requirements are probably twice that of Middl now. Continue to send positive wishes for this nest. We are not out of the woods yet but I sure hope we are in a week. Both chicks cast pellets this morning and both had at least one PS. Enjoy this morning. It has been a good one at Dale Hollow.

Here is the first view of the newly hatched chick at Harry and Nancy’s MN DNR (hatched yesterday).

I have received word from ‘S’ in Latvia that a female interloper White-tailed eagle has destroyed the two eggs that Milda had laid on her nest in Durbe County. This is what ‘S’ conveyed: “Just a quick update. Yesterday evening a ringed strange female came to the nest and destroyed/ate Milda’s eggs while Milda was away feeding. Voldis did not stop her. It’s clear Voldis is not in any nesting mode yet, since his incubation skills also did not improve significantly. The intruder female is a Latvian WTE who was ringed in Latvia, near Jaunpils in 2016.”

Here is a video summary of the events:

As ‘S’ points out, many of the experienced watchers of Milda’s nest believe this to be better as it is clear that the situation could have gotten worse – no care for hatchlings, lack of prey to nest, etc.

‘S’ also included a message sent out by the Ornithologist, Jan Kuze:

“Today we have witnessed a very interesting turn of events – at least I am not aware of any other such cases. The role was played by the fact that the male is young and inexperienced, its connection with the territory and this partner is not sufficiently strong yet. The female continues to incubate due to inertia, but it cannot be ruled out that another egg will be laid in this nest, the next week or two will show.

I ringed the egg-eating female bird in the vicinity of Jaunpils on 25.05.2016. It is a young female who has reached the nesting age and is looking for a nesting area, it cannot be ruled out that we will continue to see her here and that some conflicts will continue.”

In Montana, members of the Raptor Resource Project are installing some ‘goose exclusion’ mechanisms to the Osprey nests. Here is the message from Dr Ericke Green:

It is not an Osprey nest but an unused Bald Eagle nest at Decorah, Iowa. The Canada Goose that has been checking out this nest has now laid her first egg. This is going to be a terrific nest to watch as long as there are is no predation. Imagine all those little goslings jumping off the sides.

The goose laid the egg and then covers it. Did you watch Daisy on the WBSE nest? If so, you might remember that the goose or duck will lay their eggs and then begin to add down from their breast to make the soft nest. After 24 hours, the goslings will all jump down! They have quite a ways to go but video has been taken of goslings jumping 106 m or 350 feet. They bounce! It is really exciting. They will then follow their Mother to water where they will begin eating. Ducklings and goslings are precocial – covered in feathers and able to eat on their own after hatch. Amazing.

On the Cornell Campus yesterday, 19 year old Big Red surprised everyone when she laid a 4th egg! Perhaps most surprised was her 6 year old mate, Arthur. Cornell called it “unprecedented” on Twitter. Red tail Hawks can lay up to 5 eggs. Since the camera became operative in 2012, Big Red has consistently laid 3 eggs. It is not know how many she laid in years prior.

I will alert all of you as pip approaches for Big Red and Arthur as well as for the Peregrine Falcon couple, Annie and Grinnell. If you are used to watching eagles, it is very educational to observe the smaller raptors and how they manage larger clutches.

Speaking of Falcons, it is not time for any egg laying by the Australian falcons at CBD 367 Collins Street or Xavier and Diamond at Orange. That will come in late summer. For now, there are several nests. That said, I am playing close attention to Annie and Grinnell (as much as Dale Hollow allows for). This morning Grinnell was in the scrape at 06:44:05 calling Annie. I sure hope he had her breakfast! In terms of hunting, Peregrine Falcons, the fastest birds in the world flying up to 370 kph, capture their prey when flying. That prey can range from parrots, doves, pigeons, Starlings, to geese and herons depending on the falcons location.

For those just starting/thinking about observing this scrape, there is one quick difference between Grinnell and Annie. Grinnell has a black ID on his left leg and a standard silver band on the right. I would also like to draw your attention to the hue of Grinnell’s legs, cere (the yellow part above the beak), and the yellow around his eyes. Notice how the colour appears to be an orange-yellow. This deep colour indicates that Grinnell is extremely healthy.

At 08:48 Annie returns to the scrape. Peregrine Falcons may have first laid their eggs in twig nests but, if they did, they evolved to using cliffs with sand or pebbles. It is believed that this allows for few, if any, diseases unlike Eagle nests that constantly have to be aerated.

The eggs that Annie will lay are some of the most beautiful in the avian world with their rich red-brown colour. Indeed, because of their beauty and size they became the target of egg collectors. Once Annie begins hard incubation, her and Grinnell will take turns for 33-35 days. On occasion, as at the CBD Collins Street Nest in 2021, all three of their eggs hatched within a few hours. It helps to avoid the issues that we have seen at Dale Hollow and with Eagles and Ospreys in general. Once hatched, it is 5 to 6 weeks til fledge. The parents will then train the eyases to hunt and feed them for about another month. On occasion, the fledglings return to the nest area.

I sure hope Grinnell had a good breakfast for her. Annie appears to be ‘thinking’ about laying eggs. We wait.

Here is a recap by CalFalcons of the 2021 year. You might want to turn the sound down a little – the music is quite loud (or maybe not). It compresses the season from mating to banding to fledge.

At the Berry College nest of Pa Berry and Missy, B15 is one sweet and energetic eaglet! The nest has become a launch pad for ever higher jumping. B15 loves the wind between its wings. This morning he was up checking out the DVR. Fledge could come any day now. It has been a terrific year for this nest.

About four hours ago, Harriet at the Dahlgren Osprey nest laid her second egg. Jack continues to bring in toys. Oh, dear. Last year an egg got lost in all the items on this nest. Poor Harriet.

As we wait for Richmond and Rosie to finish their nest and the arrival of Iris in Montana, the Ospreys heading to Europe are on the move. A couple of days ago there were 51 on a site in Senegal and today only 10.

I want to check on Karl II, the male at the Karula National Forest Black Stork nest who is making his way home for the spring and summer breeding season in Estonia. Yesterday, 23 March, Karl was making good progress and was feeding at Lake Beysehir in Isparta Province in Turkey.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Karl II would normally be heading for an area around Odessa in the Ukraine on the Black Sea. Is it possible that he might revert and fly slightly West? We wait.

The day is half over on the Dale Hollow nest and I would suggest that it was a good start. River is currently on the nest shading the eaglets.

Thank you so much for joining me. I have skipped around checking on other Bird news this morning. All of the other nests are doing well and there is a lot going on. A storm is heading to Captiva that might put fishing off for Andy because the air pressure drives the fish deeper in the Water. Jackie and Shadow have been dealing with intruders. I may not get to all of those today. It could be a very late report. Take care everyone!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and/or FB pages where I took my screen captures: Cornell Bird Lab and the Montana Osprey Project, Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, Dale Hollow Eagle Cam, Cal Falcons, Berry College Eagles, Looduskalender, Google Maps, Dahlgren Ospreys, and Explore.Org. I know that there are more pressing concerns in the Balkans but I am extremely grateful to ‘S’ who took the time to alert me about Milda’s eggs being predated. Thank you ‘S’, I know the birds are your solace right now.

SE19 fledges, noon feed at Dale Hollow, and other news in Bird World

20 March 2022

I haven’t yet checked every nest because I have been constantly monitoring the Dale Hollow situation with Middle and Big. It has been a day of great achievements on that nest and other exciting news from nests all over.

There was a fledge and could be another at the SW Florida Bald Eagle nest of M15 and Harriet.

This was the official announcement:

E19 had been up on the branch with the parents. It was early morning and foggy. M15 flew off and was seen flying around the nest tree enticing E19 to flap and hop on the branch. At one point the cam operator didn’t know if E19 would go first or E20 flapping from the nest to another branch. Here are some images.

Several hours later, E19 took the plunge and became a fledgling! Here is the video clip taken by the folks in that white vehicle at the centre of the screen.

Congratulations to M15 and Harriet, the Pritchett Family, and especially to E19! I wonder if E20 will go today? or tomorrow?

At the Cornell Campus, Big Red laid her third and most likely last egg of the 2022 season at 09:27. At this point, Big Red and Arthur will begin hard incubation. Congratulations to Big Red and Arthur!

If you were looking for Bald Eagles eggs in the Decorah Bald Eagle nest in Iowa, forget it. A Canada Goose has taken over the nest. Believe me when I tell you that you are really going to enjoy watching this nest. The female will lay between 4 and 7 eggs which will be incubated for 25-30 days. The male will serve as security guard. When the goslings are 24 hours old, the parents will fly to the ground calling the goslings to leap. Within a few minutes all of the little ones will be down on the ground following their parents. It is a nice change from the Bald Eagles!

It appeared that B15 at the Berry College Bald Eagles had officially branched. Everyone is waiting for the official word on that – did B15 fly up high enough?

It has been a good morning on the Captiva Osprey Nest. Middle is standing more on its legs and Little is working with the nesting material. Both have eaten and both appear to be in excellent health! They are getting along find and we simply cannot ask for anything better than that.

That is Middl (or chat Little) in the back standing up as the sun rises and spreads a golden pink glow on the nest.

Little (or Mini) in front with the lighter plumage (he is younger and this is how you can tell him now easily) moving sticks with its beak.

Both chicks lined up at the table having a nice fish for breakfast. No animosity or rivalry here.

The joy continues at the Dale Hollow Nest. At 11:58:39, it appears that River flies to the nest with some new nesting material. Big thinks it is fish and moves up to the table. Middle is at the far rim of the nest. Obey then flies in with a small fish at 12:01:01. River feeds part of the fresh fish to Big and then stops feeding her. River then pulls another small fish out of the straw! That was at 12:16:56. She feeds Big. At 12:17:13 River abruptly stops feeding Big and walks over to Middle who has moved up a bit and offers it fish! This is HUGE. We are really passing milestones on this nest quickly today. Then River moves the old fish in the straw to the table. She has 1.5 small fish left. She feeds Bit again at 12:17:34. Middle very cautiously moves around the nest to the right. At 12:19:40 he is in position for snatch and grab which he does splendidly. Big does nothing. At 12:19:59, Middle is at the table being fed. It appears that River fed him the last half of the fish. This is just incredible. The fish need to continue to show up or be pulled out of the nest if in hiding to keep up the good momentum but…for now, let us celebrate another big win today at the Dale Hollow nest for Middle DH15. Here are some images:

Obey has brought in the fresh fish. River had been feeding Big a few of the scrapes left from the morning. Middle just wants to stay out of Big’s way.

River moves to get the fresh fish and bring it up to the table. Big does not move away. Little still in position at the rim. Little is watching and listening. This is what the siblings who have abused do. They know their environment and they watch and wait. They have to – their life depends on it. Good skills for living in the wild.

River actually stops feeding Big and reaches out to Middle who has moved up. Middle does a great snatch and grab. Big does nothing.

Middle moves around from where it was along the edge of the nest always aware of Big. He will move up to the food table and eats properly.

In this image you can easily see how much bigger Big is than Middle. Middle remains at the table until he is very, very full.

Middle might be hoping that River is going to offer the fish tail but she doesn’t. They are both full. Big is passed out at the edge by the rim.

Another good feeding. Tears and more tears rolling down my cheeks. We will take it one feeding at a time. So far since Saturday evening everything has been good on this nest. I remain cautiously optimistic.

At present we have another nest with three chicks. Akecheta and Thunder are going to have to really bring in the prey and maybe do some tandem feedings as these three get bigger. The baby is four days younger. This has to be kept in mind as we move forward.

There is a pip for Liberty and Guardian at their Redding California nest. Last year these two fledged three. The pip is right on time. Congratulations Liberty and Guardian.

The hole is right under the feather hanging down the lowest on the egg closest to the screen. Once we see the external pip, hatch will happen between 12 and 24 hours! Yippee. A new bobble head.

Here is the link to the streaming cam of Liberty and Guardian. It is a good nest to follow now that the older eaglets are becoming fledglings.

I am so behind catching up with Grinnell and Andy. You can hear noises on the camera once in awhile but I have not seen much action on the camera when I checked. Today, however, Annie first arrives in the scape around 08:11 with bloody talons. That tells me – hopefully – that Grinnell has provided her with some prey breakfast.

Annie shuffles the gravel and is scraping.

Oh, thank goodness.

Annie returns to the nest at 09:38:05. Here she is teasing us at 10:04:05. Annie sure isn’t giving away any news this year. She has held us in a state of worry that she was going to abandon Grinnell for another nest. So happy to see her here in the scrape at The Campanile. I mean it has to be “Grinnell and Annie” – .

Right now even with Annie teasing us, everything in Bird World feels good. As we all know things can change quickly but for now all of the nests appear to be fine. I am told by ‘S’ in Latvia that even the young mate of Milda, Voldis, is doing better. ‘S’ wonders what kind of year it will be at the Durbe Nest of Milda in Latvia with this young man. We will just have to wait. We all need to remember that young mates can be fantastic – Arthur at Cornell, Harry up at the MN DNR nest, and Cheta who did not do well his first two years but who is trying to make up for it now.

Thank you for joining me this afternoon. Take care all. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Dale Hollow Bald Eagles, Cal Falcons, SWFlorida and D Pritchett, West End Bald Eagles, Cornell Bird Lab RTH, Captiva Ospreys and Window on Wildlife, and Explore.org

Wednesday in Bird World

16 March 2022

Wow! What the morning. The two surviving chicks at the Captiva Osprey nest chirping for fish and Grinnell – finally – bringing Annie a gift of prey!!! You know the only way it could get better is if the Ravens would leave both Jackie & Shadow and Thunder & Cheta alone and if Little Bit at Dale Hollow grew ‘a mile’ overnight.

Peregrine Falcons. If you are new to this species, the female – in this case Annie – expects the male to delivery her prey and prove that he can take care of her and the chicks before she is ever going to lay any of his eggs!!!!! Well, Grinnell finally did that this morning. He had better sweeten the pot with several more nice fat pigeons! I have a feeling that Grinnell was in Annie’s ‘dog house’ for some reason.

CalFalcons did a video of the first prey offering. All of this is part of the mating and breeding rituals of the falcons. Notice how Grinnell is bowed in submission to his mate, Annie.

There will be several more Peregrine Falcon streaming cams coming on line. One of those is The Wakefield Peregrine Falcons in the UK. Here is the link to the camera.

If you are familiar with Ospreys and Eagles you might find it odd that Falcons prefer shallow areas with gravel called a ‘scrape box’ to lay their eggs. The female will ‘scrape’ in the box making a slight indentation for the eggs. These scrape boxes – now on high buildings and skyscrapers – mimic the traditional cliffs where the falcons bred. They have adopted to the urban landscape and are doing well in most instances. There are many challenges for them including traffic, cars, rodenticide secondary poisoning, and windows that rural falcons do not have.

Oh, the two remaining osplets on the Captiva nest look really good today. Here they are with big crops and it is 16:08 nest time. Andy and Lena are decidedly having to adjust the fish deliveries now that Big is no longer with us. Andy came in with another Ladyfish this morning before I went for my walk and Lena had most of a Ladyfish left from an earlier feeding. Even so, both chicks and Lena were full and happy.

I am anything but an expert on H5N1, the highly pathogenic strain of Avian Flu. I have, however, observed younger eaglets die from the virus on the nest and those chicks were not hungry. So the fact that these two are joyfully eating gives me real hope.

Lena went for her spa and returned to feed Middle and Little. Have a look at Little’s crop. I know it is big in the image above but look now. He is going to pass out in a food coma momentarily!

Popping crops is what it looks like.

Yeap. He is out for the count.

That Little Bit at Dale Hollow is really tiny. The difference in size between it and the eldest is quite unbelievable. Little Bit is still alive and has energy to scoot all around the nest. I am having trouble catching River or Obey feeding the three today but the last capture I took of them, Little Bit looks good.

Big has become a ‘couch potato’ of sorts preferring to sleep on the new hay brought to the nest. Wonder what Little Bit sees in the distance?

Will Little Bit be the smallest male eaglet from the region? Have a look at this really short video of it flapping its tiny little wings. What a sweetheart.

Thunder and Akecheta have been taking turns brooding their three chicks at the West End Bald Eagle nest on Catalina Island. I have not seen any new prey on the nest today – just the remains of the Cormorant. It is still early there! 13:52. Plenty of time for several fish to be brought in to the nest. Thunder is brooding so maybe Akecheta is out hunting.

Akecheta is getting better and better at feeding the three and also knows that it is good to saliva feed them as well so they get more hydration. It is really hot on that nest on Catalina Island.

The wing tags were put on as part of a research project so the birds that were introduced to this region could easily be identified. Akecheta still has his; Thunder has lost hers. They are meant to fall off eventually. That project to reintroduce eagles into the area began in the 1980s.

Akecheta shading his chicks from the hot California sun.

Thunder getting a chance to brood her chicks.

The little eaglet at the Big Bear Valley Bald Eagle Nest of Jackie and Shadow has been fed 5 times already. The last feeding was at 13:05 and one fish has been delivered to that nest by Shadow. There are various other items of prey there as well.

I wonder if that little one is hot?

How cute. They all look different. This one is simply a little sweetheart taking care of its ‘eggie’ once in awhile.

It is a beautiful day at Big Bear Lake. Jackie is as gorgeous as ever.

Sad news from the Kakapo Recovery coming today. Lung infections are the major killer of these non-flying parrots. The area they live in is also very damp.

The ‘baby’ at Berry College, B15, is no longer a baby. This morning he completely ate a fish by himself. Missy brought in a squirrel later and fed him and now, late afternoon, she has returned and is feeding B15 some more squirrel. This eaglet is doing great. So nice to see.

Two really beautiful eaglets at the WRDC nest. It is good to remember back when R2 had a really difficult time and we were worried that it would not survive. Look at both of them today. Rita and Ron sure have two gorgeous kids!

The weather is so much better here. The temperatures are around +2 C. The snow is melting and today the light was ‘bright’. I went for my walk determined to triple the distance that I normally try to do. When I finished I had done more than I wanted and, by the time I got to my car, really felt it. There was something wonderful about being out in the woods in the silence broken now and again by the honking of returning Canada Geese.

The resident pair of Bald Eagles was across the lake. I did manage to get their silhouettes against that bright sky.

I wish I could do calligraphy like the beautiful lines of the old bull rushes.

Nature is a much better artist than I would ever be!

The board walk looked particularly lonely today waiting for the ice to thaw.

The nature centre has set up a ‘Winter Bird Feeding Station’ as part of a bequest. What a wonderful idea. There were several benches to sit on, different kinds of feeders, and an illustrative board showing the birds, their names, and a little information about them. It was a nice place to stop and rest but the Black-capped Chickadees did not like me there. They would not come and eat so I quickly departed. Maybe having benches for observers is not a good idea – just food for the birds.

There are other feeders nearer to the building where you enter. Today I only saw the chickadee and the nuthatch. But I want you to notice the cords hanging in front of the windows. I tried to describe them one day. The cords are on wooden slats that are attached to the outside of the windows. They do not bother the view from the inside but they definitely prevent window strike.

I went to check on Captiva and everything is just fine. Middle seems to be finding its way to being the biggest on the nest. He is a beautiful bird. The nest ‘feels’ peaceful. Perhaps Little and Middle are little boys.

You cannot see Little (or Mini)’s head; he is to the right of Lena. You can see its fat bottom and those lovely velvet-like pantaloons. Middle is sound asleep. Lena was calling Andy for another fish delivery before bed. Life on the Captiva nest looks good.

Wish for a lot of fish at the Dale Hollow Lake nest of River and Obey – add to that a tandem feeding by Mum and Dad so that each chick goes to bed full. That would really help Little Bit. The others have their thermal down but it does not have all of its and it really needs cuddling or brooding on the cold evenings.

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and/or FB pages where I took my screen captures: Captiva Ospreys and Window on Wildlife, West End Bald Eagles and Institute for Wildlife Studies, Friends of Big Bear Valley, Dale Hollow Lake Eagles, Kakapo Recovery, WRDC, and Berry College.

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.

Birding Action has started in Australia

Wow. At 00:52:40, Mom goes into labour. She is the female Osprey on the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge in Australia. Dad is sitting right at nest side in support. It was magical. The minute the egg was, Dad was off. My time said 00:57:58. And with that single significant event, the Port Lincoln Osprey season for 2021 is underway!

Mom looks very content in the early morning Australian sun.

I was very glad to see Dad there. Last year Dad just about ended my love of Ospreys. The death of Tapps, the third hatch in 2020, practically cemented that. The Achieva Osprey nest brought back the pain but the triumph of Tiny Tot gave me faith. It also has made me question the entire notion of ‘survival of the fittest’. So this year I am wishing for consistent fish drops when the eggs hatch – Dad, that means enough fish for everyone every day with no breaks.

The Northern Hemisphere fledglings are preparing to migrate (if they hatched in an area where the birds travel to warmer climates during the winter) so for all Osprey lovers this is a chance to start at the very beginning again — in Australia.

The adults spent a lot of time bringing in new twigs and lining the nest cup with bark. It is quite beautiful. This nest looks like someone cares!

Of the chicks that have fledged from this nest, Calypso (2019) fishes and is seen regularly in the Port Lincoln area. Solly (2020) was fitted with a satellite tracker as well as a leg band. It is reassuring to know that she is well. There have been no reported sightings of her brother, DEW, that I am aware of.

Solly is 317 days old and she is at her favourite place, Eba Anchorage.

The two eggs have hatched at the White-Bellied Sea Eagle cam in the forest of the Sydney Olympic Park. They are WBSE 27 and 28. Both are doing fantastic. Dad has been bringing in Bream, Pigeon, several other types of birds, and Eel-tailed Catfish. The chicks are not wanting for food or variety!

The link to the Sea Eagle Cam is here:

Are you a Peregrine Falcon lover? There are two excellent nests in Australia on streaming cam. One is on all year round and has covered the antics of Xavier, his mate Diamond, and their son, Izzi. The scrape box is on the water tower on the grounds of Charles Sturt University in Orange, NSW. This family is part of a research project of Professor Cilla Kinross.

I should tell you that this nest is hilarious. Xavier is such a sweetie and he is courting Diamond now even though they have been a bonded pair for a number of years. He brings her gifts of prey to the scrape box and they do a courtship dance. Sometimes Xavier forgets and brings Diamond a Starling. Diamond hates Starlings and refuses to accept the gift from Xavier! And then there is Izzi. Izzi is like the cutest almost one year old falcon. He should not be at the nest but he is. You see, Izzi fledged three times. The first was accidental so he was taken back up the 170 stairs to the scrape box on the water tower. The second was a good fledge but he ran into a window. He was in care for several days and returned to the scrape box. The third time was the charm. The problem? Well, Izzi should have left his parent’s territory before the beginning of 2021. Yes, it is now August. That is the problem.

I mean seriously – could you tell this cutie pie to leave home?

Both Diamond and Xavier have been ‘scraping’ in the scrape box. The indentation they are creating is where Diamond will lay the 2021 season eggs. The couple have already been mating on the top of the water tower.

This is Xavier. The yellow around the eyes, the cere (part above the beak), and the legs and feet are a deep yellow when falcons are adults. Look at the beautiful plumage patterning.

This is Xavier scraping in the scrape box.

This is Diamond scraping in the scrape box. Notice the colour of the stones. In his book, The Peregrine, J.A. Baker states that “Peregrines bathe every day…The bed of the stream must be stony and firm…They favour those places where the colour of the stream-bed resembles the colour of their own plumage.” Absolutely. Camouflage. But why do they take so many baths? Baker believed that it was so they would not transfer any lice or other parasites from their prey onto them that could cause illness or disease. The same is true of the scrape box. Peregrine falcons lay their eggs in gravel and not on a twig nest to avoid illness or disease.

Here is a very short but loud pair bonding in the scrape box. Have a look at the dance that Xavier and Diamond do together. Xavier is the smaller of the couple. Falcons, like other raptors, have reverse sex size diamorphism – meaning the female is larger.

Here is the link to the box camera. There are in fact two cameras: one looks at the inside of the box as above and the other is positioned to look forward from the back taking in the ledge and a bit of the outside world. That is cute little Izzi looking out to that big world beyond.

The chat feature has moderators, often Professor Kinross, as well as a FB Page where you can get great information.

The second is the Collins Street Falcons better known as the CBD Falcons in Melbourne. The camera is not operational yet. There are many videos from last year if you search for Collins Street Falcons on YouTube. In 2020, the couple had triplet girls. Triplets? Three eggs hatch within a period of 24 hours. These girls grew like crazy. They grew bigger than their dad.

I am including one video of the male delivering a pigeon to feed them. I just love this tiny little male. He melts my heart every time I look at him.

The diet of the two falcon families is different. The Melbourne falcons are urban. Their diet is almost exclusively pigeon. In contrast, the falcons in Orange are rather rural with a more varied diet including Starlings (remember Diamond dislikes those), Galah, sometimes a Supreme Parrot, other parrots, and birds. One thing that eyases love are cicadas. They hold them in their foot and eat them like a popsicle. It is crazy. In one day last year, Izzi ate 17 cicadas in a row. There had to be a swarm of them! It was incredible.

As night comes to the Canadian prairies the sun is rising on a new day in Europe for all of the birds. The rain falling in the Latvian forest where the three Black storklings nest sounds wonderful.

It was reported today that my city had only 1/10 the average amount of rain in July. It has been 150 years since this small amount of rain was last recorded. We long for a day just to listen to the sound of rain falling like it is here on the Black Storklings in Latvia:

Thank you so much for joining me today. It is wonderful to have you with me. Take care everyone!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: The Latvian Fund for Nature, Sea Eagle Cam, Birdlife Australia and the Discovery Centre, Charles Sturt University and the Falcon Cam Project, Port Lincoln Osprey Project and PLO FB Page for Solly’s transmitter data.

Note: The next newsletter will appear late Tuesday.

A hurricane, two nests, and falcons

Elsa was a category 1 hurricane when she bore down on the Southwest Florida coast last evening. The two chicks on the Sarasota Bay Osprey Nest had their talons anchored, riding out the gusts and the rain. This was the pair of them at 23:08 Tuesday, 6 July.

Whew! No chicks blown off the nest just a good soaking.

As the gusts calmed some in Sarasota, they were picking up at the Achieva Osprey Nest in St Petersburg. It is nearly midnight. What is surprising are the number of cars on the streets and even people walking. The nest perch weaves back and forth. Oh, I am ever so glad that Tiny Tot is not on this nest! Indeed, I can see why the birds might choose to migrate north for the summer to get away from hurricane season.

All of this made all of the aunties and uncles relatively nervous. We can’t do anything but watch which is precisely the problem! And none of us knows what kind of damage the storm will do.

Instead of drinking coffee and eating way too much chocolate, I turned my mind to Peregrine Falcons.

“Peregrine Falcon” by Bill Gracey 26 Million Views is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Peregrine Falcons. The fastest animal on the planet. Speeds up to 390 kph or 243 mph. They are flying killing machines attacking their prey in the air instead of on land. They are magnificent creatures who appear in art, literature, culture, and sport.

“Peregrine Falcon” by DaveInman is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Falcons appear on the shoulders of the terracotta figures, the haniwa, on the Kofun (mound tombs) in Japan from 300-555 CE. These were royal tombs. The haniwa were not placed on the inside of the tomb but, rather, on the top of the mound as if in a ceremonial parade. They served many functions. One of those was utilitarian – they kept the soil from eroding as they would have their bottom portion pushed into the the ground.

Using Google Earth, satellite images show you the distinctive ‘keyhole’ design of these ancient burial sites. Forests now cover the sites but originally, they would have been cleared. These hollow clay figures covered the surface. Were they there to protect the deceased? did they tell about the status of their life on earth? No written records exist but we know that over time simple clay cylinders developed into very elaborate human and animal shapes like the falconer, above.

Falconry was known to be practised by the aristocracy in Japan. Taka is the Japanese word for falcon. Taka means strength and bravery. It is no wonder that the art of falconry, takagari, was adopted by the warrior class, the samurai.

The military class ruled Japan during the Edo era. During the Tokugawa Shogunate, 1603-1858, local war lords (daimyo) and the Shogun hired painters to depict the falcons on crests, screens, textiles such as boy’s kimono, in hangings as well as in single sheets or albums.

The image below is one of many woodblock prints depicting falcons. This one is Falcons with nestlings in a pine tree at sunrise by Utagawa Kuniyoshi.

Falconry is still practiced in Japan today. Here is a lovely short video about a woman who desired to take up the sport.

As it happens, I have just finished reading Queen of the Sky. That is probably why falcons are on my mind. In fact, this beautiful little book is sitting next to me. The illustrations are gorgeous.

What a marvellous little book written and illustrated by Jackie Morris. It is the story of Ffion Rees’s rescue of a Peregrine Falcon off the coast of Ramsay Island. It might be easy for someone to think, on the surface, that it is a condensed version of H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald. If so, they would be missing the book’s heart. It is about love. “Come and see what is in my kitchen” Ffion urges Jackie. It is a story that weaves the lives of the women and the bird – love, loss, and friendship – together in a book that you will not wish to set down. Morris draws you in – you can smell the sea and the land, you can hear the gulls and you want to escape into the wild that is Ramsay Island. Required with the book are at least half a dozen tissues.

Morris tells us that the Peregrine Falcons hatched on Ramsay’s Islands are believed to be the fastest and most fierce in all of the United Kingdom. The kings of England kept many birds from Ramsay.

As a child do you recall the nursery rhyme about the Four and Twenty Blackbirds baked in a pie? Can you conjure that image? Like the one in the old coloured drawing below?

“King William IV sits with knife and fork at the ready before a pie containing blackbirds served to him by Lord Melbourne. Coloured lithograph by H.B. (John Doyle), 1836.” is licensed under CC BY 4.0

But did you know that King Henry II (1133-1189), known as Henry the Falconer, allowed his noblemen to bring their falcons with them whenever there was a feast? And adding to that, did you know that Henry’s chefs made special pies full of live songbirds (they could not have baked them!) and when they were opened the birds flew out as fast as they could while the owners took the hoods off the falcons?

Hoods protect the eyes of the falcon and help to keep it calm. They can very elaborate. This one is in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, England. It dates from the early 17th century and is made of leather which has been incised and gilded. There is silk velvet embroidery with silver thread along with silver breads and a tuft. It is typical of the type of hoods used in Europe at the time. Isn’t it gorgeous?

@Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Can you see it in those cold stone castles with their long wooden tables, pies full of birds flying and thrashing about being chased by stealth fliers? Plucked feathers flying all about and landing in the food?

Falcons raise their eyases in scrape boxes or on the sides of cliffs or in caves. The scrape are shallow and contain gravel. It is believed that the falcons developed this method of raising their chicks to keep away the pests and diseases associated with twig nests.

There are several falcon scrapes that have streaming cams. One of the most famous couples in the United States is Annie and Grinnell who have their scrape box in the Campanile of the University of California at Berkeley. They have just fledged three boys – Fauci, Kaknu, and Wek-Wek. At this time of year, if you want to watch falcons hatch and fledge, you have to go to the falcon streaming cams in the Southern Hemisphere. Two are the CBD Peregrine Falcons otherwise known as the Collins Street Falcons in Melbourne, Australia and the scrape box of Xavier and Diamond on top of the water tower on the campus of Charles Sturt University in Orange, Australia. The CBD Peregrine Falcon Cam is not up and running yet. I will let you know when it is.

Here is the link to the live streaming cam with Diamond, Xavier, and their nine-month old son, Izzi, who refuses to leave home!

I am very happy to say that the two chicks on the Sarasota Bay Osprey Nest survived their very first hurricane. Here they are at 10 am, Wednesday, 7 July.

Tiny Tot’s nest held up perfectly well, too. No one was on it but one of the adult visitors this morning for a bit. We all assume that the impact of the storm had no harmful effects on our beloved Osprey family in St. Petersburg.

The question of who this bird is has driven me a little nuts. The bird has the white ‘V’ and the rounded white heart shape that Tiny Tot has. It has the black patch on the rear of the head that Tiny has. It has Tiny’s short thick legs. But, this is an adult!

Thank you for joining me today. Many of us are quite tired having stayed up to ride the hurricane out. It is such a relief that it has passed. If today’s blog is a little disconnected – that was the state of my mind last night. It will all pass (we hope). Take care all!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen images: The Bay Sarasota Osprey Cam and the Achieva Credit Union in St Petersburg, Florida.

Nest Stealing, Nesting, and sad news out of Glaslyn

There are no real estate agents exchanging bird real estate and, as we have seen on the Achieva Osprey Nest in St Petersburg, Florida (see Tiny Tot blog, 27 May 2021), the shortage of trees and platforms can cause intruders to battle it out with nest occupants. Tiny Tot defended the nest as best he could yesterday, 27 May. Jack came along and got rid of the intruding adult around 4:10 but it was back this morning around 9:20. Ospreys will protect their territory and then feed sibling 2 and Tiny Tot so the food deliveries could be low today like they were yesterday.

In Orange, Australia a pair of Nankeen Kestrels were thinking they might occupy the scrape box of Peregrine Falcons, Xavier and Diamond yesterday – and, of course, Izzi. Indeed, after two returns after his first fludge and his second fledge when he hit a window and needed care, Izzi also feels that the scrape box is his private penthouse.

Nankeen or Australian Kestrels are the smallest raptors in the country. They are from 28-35 cm long with a wingspan of 66-78 cm. The female is the larger of the two. Pale rufous feathers with dark grey patterning and black flight feathers. The male has a light grey crown. They are distinguished by hovering over their prey instead of relying on speed, like the Peregrine Falcons whose scrape box they are in. They have no problem borrowing the nests of other raptors if they appear deserted. Nankeen Kestrels eat insects, small prey such as mice and other small birds and reptiles. They lay from two to seven eggs on a cliff, in a tree hollow, or in a scrape box. Those eggs hatch on average between 26 and 28 days.

Owners of nests in the Southern Hemisphere are beginning to work on nestorations in preparation for the breeding season which begins shortly, June-August.

The White-Bellied Sea Eagles (WBSE) whose nest is in the forest of Sydney Olympic Park have been making visits to the nest periodically. The WBSE is the second largest raptor in Australia. The nest in the Sydney Forest is part of the territory of Lady and Dad. WBSE are quickly recognized because the adult plumage is grey and white above. When flying, the underneath wing patterning is black and white.

“White-Bellied Sea Eagle” by sufw is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

They have a grey hooked beak and either grey or yellow legs with long black talons. The length of the wings ranges from 1.8 to 2.2 metres. WBSE weight between 1.8 and 4.5 kg. WBSE also have reverse sex diamorphism – the female is larger than the male. WBSE live along the coasts of India, SE Asia, Australia, and Pacific New Guinea and islands of Austral-Asia. Some live inland. Their conservation status varies from secure to endangered depending on the country. Shooting, trapping, poisoning, power lines, environmental pollution and human disturbance are all threats.

“Photo point- white bellied sea eagle” by shankar s. is licensed under CC BY 2.0

WBSE mate for life. Dad and Lady have their nest in a very old Ironbark Tree in the forest. Here, in the dry months, Lady will lay two white oval eggs. The incubation period is six weeks. One of my eagle friends tells me to take a breath because not all eggs hatch and not all eaglets live. The second egg is the ‘insurance’ egg if the first one fails – my friend tells me. Gosh, I would hate to just be an insurance egg!!!!! The nestlings will be fed a variety of prey including fish, birds, eels, and even turtles. They hunt along the Parramatta River, close to the nest and in the forest. The young will fledge, normally between 70-80 days. Indeed, it is unusual to have two fledges but Lady and Dad have managed this over the past few years. Last year WBSE 25 and 26 fledged. (You can read about the tenacious 26 in former blogs).

You can see the juvenile plumage in the image below. It is a range of browns and sometimes beautiful rust colours.

“White Bellied Sea Eagle Close-Up” by Peter Nijenhuis is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Dad has been bringing in fish gifts to Lady in the nest, they have been doing nestorations, and they were mating on 14 May. The pair have been sleeping on the parent branch of the nest tree lately. Looking for eggs the first week in June, hopefully.

Sea Eagle Cam @ Birdlife Australia, Discovery Centre, Sydney Olympic Park

The saddest news is coming out of Glaslyn and I am not sure that anyone knows what to make of it. You will remember that the terrible weather and the intruders caused Aran to be injured to the point he could not go hunting. The staff provided a fish table for the family and they were eating. On Sunday, after eating, the eldest chick died. Last night the middle chick died, and this morning, the smallest one is too weak to hold its head up to feed. Only a post-mortem could confirm the cause and I am certainly no expert so I wouldn’t even venture to guess the cause. Our hearts are breaking for this iconic Osprey family – Mrs G, at 21 years old, is the oldest Osprey in the United Kingdom, and her mate, Aran. They have lost chicks before and will move forward.

Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife

I am so sorry to bring you the sad news from Glaslyn. This has been a very difficult week for this Osprey family – the weather has been horrible and the intruders have injured Aran. And now the loss of the chicks. Credits for where I obtained my screen shots are below the images.

Thank you for joining me today. Stay safe, take care of one another.

The featured image is Daisy the Pacific Black Duck who borrowed the WBSE nest for her eggs in early 2021. You can read all about it previous blogs starting in January 2021.

Late night Thursday edition of ‘As the Nest Turns’

The White-tail Eagle nest in the Matsula National Park in Estonia – one of the oldest known breeding territories in the country, has been fledging eaglets since the nineteenth century, if not before. Archives go back to 1870 with modern records from 1996-2020 indicating that no less than 29 eaglets fledged from the nest that Eve and Eerik currently call their own. So what has happened this year?

For two days now, Eve and Eerik have been mourning the loss of their two babies, EE1 and EE2. Long before the little ones stopped breathing, the couple knew. A parent was always there with them witnessing their last breath. It is a scene that many of us have observed at other nests this year. I remember too clearly the Captiva Bald Eagle Nest in Florida – on Santibel Island – when Hope and Peace both died of secondary rodenticide poisoning. Joe, the father was devastated, and I have often wondered if it wasn’t the death of his two eaglets that made him vulnerable and, eventually, evicted from the nest by Martin. Several years ago, stories of the injuries to Juliet at the NE Florida Bald Eagle nest and then the death of his eaglet, made Romeo abandon the Bald Eagle Nest in Jacksonville where his son, Samson, has now fledged his third-eaglet, Legacy (the two previous were Romy and Jules last year). Birds have memories and emotions, they mourn the dead, and understand. Laura Culley would challenge anyone who begged to differ, “And why wouldn’t they?” she was ask.

Eve and Eerik completely covered the babies, each spending time at the nest. Imagine that you have two seemingly healthy children and within a day they are both dead and you don’t know what happened. I use the term ‘seemingly healthy’, as the two eaglets were somewhat lethargic for several days before they died. It was extremely hot – one of those blasts of extreme heat that my friend ‘T’ from Strasbourg warned me about. I thought it was the heat that caused them to be less hungry and alert.

The experts in Estonia have mentioned that a sizeable number of large birds have been found dead along the coastline. Below is a Google Map showing that coast line and the area of Matsula.

Google Map showing the area of Matsalu and its proximity to the coast line of Estonia.

The eagles eat carrion (dead animals). Is it possible that a disease was transmitted to the nest? Was it Avian Flu? or was the cause rodenticide? It will be good to have the speculation stopped and have factual evidence – then the wildlife authorities can begin to figure out how to make sure this doesn’t happen again (if they can). The bodies of the babies will be removed on the 14th of May for an autopsy if the eagles allow them to take them. Meanwhile, Eerik is at the nest looking down at his baby, EE1, now covered by straw.

Wildlife employees in Estonia have just released this statement: “If we manage to collect the dead chicks (hope the parents let us do that), the tests will be done in Estonian University of Life Sciences or sent abroad if needed. We’ve talked with Dr. Madis Leivits about it. We’ll post the findings on the forum, if we get new information. The camera will stay online and I really hope that next year we can follow this nest again.” Thank you ‘T’ for sending this to me!

It is hard to transition from what is happening in Estonia to the rest of Bird World. I hope that the issues at this beautiful nest in Estonia are resolved and that Eve and Eerik return to raise another family next year.

When the anxiety and tensions on one nest get too high and I need a break, I head to a nest that appears stable – at that moment. As we all know, everything can change in an instant. One of those ‘safe’ nests is the Manton Bay Osprey nest at Rutland, home of Maya and Blue 33 (11). Just look at those Two Bobs! Blue 33 (11) has been busy bringing in fish today. It was a whopper at 11:47. Maya is busy filling the two up before the rains come. Look at how strong their necks are! Oh, I love this Osprey nest and those baby blues of the little ones. They will turn an amber or yellow-orange shortly and when they are adults, their eyes will be a piercing bright yellow like their dad and mum. Oh, those little dinosaurs are adorable.

Birds are often better at telling what the weather will be than our local forecaster. Maya fed the babies as much as they could hold before the skies opened in the late afternoon. Look at how she is hunkered down so the Bobs are warm and dry. Their down is of no protection to them.

By 18:22 it is dry enough that Maya can safely stop her brooding and feed those spunky osplets! There is not any nonsense. Maya and Blue 33 (11) are amazing parents who keep those kiddos full. The Bobs know that there is plenty of fish – no food insecurities here. How refreshing. I could watch these two little ones all day. You can see how they stand erect for Maya and how their crops are just beginning to get full.

There is no shortage of pigeons for the three male eyases of Annie and Grinnell. The parents had a banquet for them after the banding yesterday. If you look carefully you can see the red band on the right leg of the chick at bottom left. Each eyas has two bands – an aluminum one and a coloured one.

One of the questions that someone asked yesterday during the Q & A was about the ‘ps’ all over the walls. The answer was this: if something happened to Annie and Grinnell a pair of falcons checking out this box would know that the territory was a good one, full of prey, because of all the ps. Isn’t that interesting? One of the other questions was about parasites. Peregrine falcons evolved to lay their eggs and raise their eyases in a scrape box. This helps avoid mites and parasites that happen on stick nests.

Big Red and Arthur’s little ones are also full of spunk and vinegar! K3 got its head caught under the wing of one of the sibs and it stood up like a big prize fighter giving that sib the what for. Look at that crop! That little one is really telling that other one. It is not the first time this little one has been ready to take one of the older ones on. This nest is going to get really interesting.

Samson brought Legacy a nice fish. Legacy started squealing and mantling before he was even in sight – that was 4:50:28 if you are watching the streaming cam. There she is mantling and Samson is just arriving.

I love Samson’s skinny legs! It looks like he is wearing tights. He is getting out of there quick – saving those talons for sure!

Legacy will not stop mantling the fish til Samson is not a threat.

Legacy is really learning how to keep her fish for herself. Great lessons by Samson and Gabby.

Legacy made quick work of that fish!

Oh, Legacy, you are gorgeous. We are so lucky you returned to the nest and have stayed around longer so we can enjoy seeing you learn and grow more confident.

I have done a quick run through of the other nests and everything seems to be going smoothly. There will be hatch watch for some of the Osprey nests in the UK this weekend. Iris has two eggs in the nest but she appears to not be taking their presence seriously. She left at 13:55 and at 20:25 she had not returned. I am glad to see that Iris is taking care of herself. No doubt she is enjoying the nice day and has caught herself several good fish.

Tiny Tot, who is no longer tiny, has been eating a lot of fish today. #2 sibling got the first fish of the morning. Tiny Tot showed the remarkable patience she has gained. She waited knowing full well that Diane would let #2 work on the fish for so long and then she would take it and they would enjoy the rest of it together. That has repeated itself throughout the day.

And can you see them with all the things in the nest? The two at the Dahlgren Osprey Nest are doing well. The first hatch has really taken off in terms of size. I bet everyone is sitting around saying that ‘it’ is going to be a ‘big girl’. Time will tell. It is too late for the third egg to hatch and it will be absorbed into the nest. No worries. Harriet keeps the two chicks warm and well fed. Jack is an excellent provider. Two nice healthy chicks is great!

Tomorrow I want to check on some of the Red-tail hawk nests in New York City – yes, right in the heart of the city. In fact, it was one of these nests that keened my interest on urban hawks – the one on the ledge of New York City University. There should also be some news on the retrieval attempt of EE1 and EE2 for their post-mortems. Right now, Eerik is on the left hand branch of the nest tree in Estonia. He has moved the bodies of the babies and him and Eve have eaten off the prey in the nest. They need to consume it so that intruders do not come. So fingers crossed!

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

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

A sighting of Legacy?

I have been following Legacy since she hatched on the 8th February. She grew strong and beautiful on the Bald Eagle nest of her parents, Samson and Gabrielle, in Jacksonville, Florida. In fact, the second egg did not hatch and Legacy (N24) had her parents complete attention. Despite being an only child she quickly learned skills to help her on her journey to adulthood. Those pinecones that come into the nest, sometimes with needles, are not only good to keep insects away but they also help the raptors learn to grip with their talons. I have watched Red Tail-Hawks play with pinecones like they were soccer balls. Legacy mantled and fought for the fish deliveries, built up strength in her wings, and she fledged. What a beautiful flight that was on the 26th of April. Here is a video clip:

The last confirmed sighting of Legacy at the nest was at 9:53:51 on 28 April. She had been chatting with Gabby and she flew off. Like before, everyone expected her to return to the nest. Many who watch Legacy also watch Harriet and M15s Bald Eagle nest in Fort Myers and know that E17 and E18 return to the nest for food while flying about the neighborhood to build up flight muscles and landing skills. So everyone has been worried when she did not return to the nest.

Today, rumours of a fly by at 9:35:15 seen only on camera 2 circulated. Here is the sequence of that flight below and to the side of the nest tree.

The image below is the area with the juvenile Bald Eagle blown up so the juvenile can be seen better.

Please note the time: 9:35:15. As it happens, the parents fly to the nest tree landing at 9:36:02. They are precisely 47 seconds – not even a minute – behind the juvenile doing the fly by.

Here is the parent landing on the look out branch at 9:36:02.

Here is Samson settled down looking around.

No one can be 100% certain that it was Legacy that did a fly by without DNA evidence or a good enough photograph to compare to one of her on the nest. That said, I believe that Samson has just missed Legacy! Why she does not come to the natal nest, I don’t know. Maybe they are just missing one another. Maybe she is being fed off the nest. We do not know but I believe that she is still in the territory of her parents and as of this morning is flying strong.

The only other news is that, sadly, the egg of Redwood Queen and Phoenix appears to have failed or not been fertile. According to the Ventana Wildlife Society, 50-60% of all California Condor eggs fail to hatch. Hopefully the pair will have more success next year!

Everything is going well on the Achieva Osprey Nest. I will check in there first thing tomorrow morning. Biggie Tot spent the day eating and #2 has really been exercising their wings. My daughter thinks that fledge will happen tomorrow. Stay tuned!

I will leave you with an image from Sturt University in Orange, Australia. The scrape box on the water tower belongs to Peregrine Falcon bonded pair, Xavier and Diamond. They had one hatch in 2020, Izzi. Izzi’s first fledge was a fludge. He went to sleep on the rim of the scrape box and fell out. He was returned to the scrape box. The second fledge he flew into a window and went into care for five days and was returned to the scrape box. The third fledge was a success. Now everyone thought that Izzi would, like all other peregrine fledglings, leave the parental territory by January at the latest. Tomorrow is 1 May and Izzi still brings his prey to the box that I think he believes is his own. I will keep you posted on developments. Izzi is the cutest thing. No one would mind watching him live his live from here.

Everything feels right in Bird World on a late Friday night on the Canadian prairies. Thanks so much for joining me. Let us all hope that the juvenile in those images is Legacy and that she is just being fiercely independent and being fed off screen. Take care everyone.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams. That is where I get my screen shots: Charles Stuart University Falcon Cam Project, NEFlorida and the AEF, Ventana Wildlife Society and Explore.org

Cuteness Overload in Bird World

It is Tuesday in New Zealand but on the Canadian prairies it is Monday and it is snowing! There is snow swirling all around and the birds would like nothing better than to come into the house! Poor things.

Today is the day that the NZ Department of Conservation rangers at Taiaroa Head weigh all of the Royal Albatross chicks. Every Tuesday they do this. If any of the chicks are underweight, the rangers will give them a supplemental feeding. Sometimes the winds are not conducive to returning while at other times these largest of NZ sea birds have to travel far to find food. Sadly, some of them also perish in the process. If there is only one parent feeding it is often hard to keep up with the demands of a growing albatross chick. That is when I sing the praises of the NZ DOC – they will do anything to keep the adults and the chicks in a good healthy state.

The Royal Cam chick is a female and she was hatched 80 days ago. Her nest is at a place called ‘The Flat Top’ on Taiaroa Head, a peninsula near Dunedin, New Zealand. It is the only breeding colony near human habitation for these albatross. Because raising a chick causes such stress on their bodies, the albatross breed biennially. Indeed, while it might sound like they have two years to recuperate, it will take almost an entire year to raise their chick. The 2021 Royal Cam chick will fledge and begin her five to six years at sea in September. Her parents will return to Taiaroa Head to feed her until she goes on her own journey. The parents will then go to sea only returning the following November when they will breed again. This means that the parents will not see one another for approximately fourteen to fifteen months returning to a specific spot on the planet to breed. It is a real joy and a relief when both return safely. The chick will remain at sea, never touching land, for five to six years before she returns to Taiaroa Head to begin choosing her own mate.

In the past week, the Royal Cam chick has ‘lucked out’. She had two family visits – her parents arrived yesterday around 15:00 and they had flown in together on Saturday to feed her together. It is hard to comprehend how extraordinary these family reunions are until you sit and stare at the ocean where the two go foraging for food for both themselves and the chick. It is vast.

Two months ago, Lime-Green-Lime (LGL), the female and Lime-Green-Black (LGK) were fitted with small backpack satellite transmitters. These transmitters are intended to study their foraging habits. LGL has travelled 11.737 kilometres going to and from the sea in order to feed her chick. This is the graph of those travels:

What a happy family reunion! The nickname for the little chick has been a Maori word for cloud, Kapua. I think you can see why in the image below! Look at all that gorgeous white feathery down.

LGL and LGK both visit and feed their chick. 12 April 2021

Kapua has learned how to beg for food. In fact, she is often impatient during these family visits for good feedings. Sometimes her parents like to stop and visit with one another! Of course, Kapua wants all the attention on her.

The albatross chick has to clack on the parent’s bill to stimulate the regurgitation of food. Here you can see how the parent also has to lean down and the way the chick and parent hold their bills so the precious squid oil will go into the chick and not on the ground!

While her parents are away, Kapua spends time in her nest. She watches the boats go past, makes little play nests around her but never strays, at this age, far from her natal nest in case her parents return with food.

Isn’t she the epitome of cuteness?

When things get too stressful on the other nests, I always return to the Royal Albatross and my faith in the New Zealand government for keeping Kapua safe and healthy.

Yesterday was a milestone for one of the most beautiful Bald eaglets anywhere, Legacy. She is the daughter of Samson and Gabrielle at the Northeast Florida Bald Eagle Nest in Jacksonville, Florida. Legacy has been jumping up and down working her wings and legs to get them strong on the spongy Spanish moss nest. Yesterday, though, Legacy made another milestone. She branched at 3:59. Legacy will continue now to go up on the branches of her natal tree until the point where she will fly from the nest to a branch before she takes her first real flight from the nest which is known as fledging. There she is. Legacy was a little nervous and she made her way down to the nest bowl carefully. Soon, though, she will be jumping up and down to that branch having a lot of fun! She loves the wind beneath her wings.

Legacy is a big strong eaglet. 11 April 2021

Sweet little babies staying warm and dry under Nancy at the MN DNR nest. Looks like they have rain instead of the snow we are experiencing north of them. The little ones are not able to regulate their temperature yet so they need to stay warm and dry!

Little ones staying warm near Nancy, MN DNR Nest. 12 April 2021

Izzi, the peregrine falcon has not left his natal scrape box in Orange, Australia. Yesterday he caught an adult Starling all by himself and was quite loud in announcing it to the world. This image catches his trade mark screeching on entering the scrape box:

The two owlets raised in the Bald Eagle Nest near Newton, Kansas are growing and growing. There are still many who consider them to be ‘cute’! Yesterday their mother, Bonnie, tested them. She left a duck and parts of a rabbit in the nest. She stood on a branch watching to see if they would begin feeding themselves. They didn’t but they will be self-feeding soon!

Bonnie is feeding Tiger and Lily duck and rabbit. 11 April 2021

And it is so sweet. Louis is on the nest at Loch Arkaig early to add a few sticks. He stayed on the perch branch for a long time waiting for Aila to return.

In 2017, Louis was given the nickname ‘Lonesome Louis’ because he paced back and forth on the nest when his mate of ten years did not return. The pair had failed to breed in 2016 and people were hopeful that 2017 would be different. Louis waited for three weeks and then a new female appeared. It was Aila meaning ‘bringer of light’ in Finnish. The pair raised one chick in 2017 and he was called Lachlan meaning from the lakes. Sadly, a Pine Marten raided their nest and ate the eggs in 2018. In 2019, the couple had two chicks fledge – Mallie and Rannoch and in 2020, there was the famous trio – Dottie, Vera, and Captain. Everyone is hoping for a quick return of Aila so that Louis is not ‘lonesome’ again!

Louis looks for Aila. 12 April 2021.

There are two other updates without images. Iris at the Hellsgate Osprey nest has been doing nestorations and feeding herself. Her mate, Louis, who also has another nest with Star at the Baseball park has visited twice – each time mating with Iris. The last time was 18:16 on 11 April when he made a quick visit. Louis brings Iris nothing – and yes, he is a bird but I continue to say how sad this is for the oldest female Osprey in the world. Wouldn’t it be nice if she was treated like the royalty she is? And the other is the state of the Achieva Osprey Nest in Dunedin, Florida. Jack the father has not been seen for awhile and everyone is beginning to wonder if he did not die or get severely injured. The thunderstorms have been very severe. Yesterday, there were two fish in the morning and Tiny Tot did get fed from both. He has not eaten now for more than 26 hours. Diane brought a small fish this morning that partially fed 1 and 2 and she has gone out and caught another smaller fish. Right now the two older osplets are eating. There may not be enough for Tiny. She will have to go out again if she is to eat and feed Tiny. There have been rumours about a hawk in the area. So, once again, we are at a tragic point this season on this nest. Just when Tiny Tot was getting full for a couple of days and getting his stamina and health back, then the storms come. Diane cannot protect her osplets and fish at the same time. She has not eaten either and I hope that whatever threats are around the nest are gone and that Diane catches one of her whooper catfish so that everyone can be full.

UPDATE 2PM CDT: Jack has arrived at the nest with a fish at 2:41:31 EDT. Diane was still feeding 1 and 2 on the fish she brought in – her second of the day. Maybe Tiny Tot will get some food. Glad Jack is OK.

Thank you for joining me today – our wintery weather will be here for three days if the predictions are correct. Not a great time for my walks!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I grab my screen shots: Cornell Bird Cams and the NZ DOC, Farmer Derek, the NEFLorida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF, Woodland Trust and People Post Lottery, Sturt University at Orange and Cilla Kinross, and the MN DNR.