Everyone is Fine

One of the problems with the streaming cams is the ‘chat’ feature. There, I have said it. The same persons come on at different times of the day, every day or every other day and say the same negative things. There is one on the PLO chat that always says, ‘The mother never feeds the youngest’. ‘Mama feed in order never feeds youngest.’ Seriously! Either they can’t rewind, they don’t watch, or they just want to stir the pot of negativity. I think that it is all three. So I go back to an old cry out of mine, Streaming cams need 24/7 knowledgable moderators. They need them to stop the bots coming in and they need them to stop the negative chatter. Even more so, if something happens on the nest they need to have emergency numbers to call or place them on the streaming cam site at the top.

The Port Lincoln Osplets are doing fine! And it is something to celebrate. One of the most exciting things is to watch them grow and grow they are. these chicks are losing their light grey coat to get their second, darker grey down. You can see the little pin feathers starting. still, each retains a tiny bit of its egg tooth. The feet are getting bigger, wings are growing and the tiny tails are starting. If you didn’t know the different species at this age of 9-10 days, just look at that beautiful dark mask going from the cere to behind the eye. that is the distinctive bandit mask of the Osprey!

Dad comes in with another fish. the big one that arrived earlier is all gone.

The chicks are getting bigger and they don’t like sleeping under Mum like they did when they first hatched. Indeed, these little ones seem to be tumbling around underneath her much of the time.

Awwww. Such sweeties.

Because it is winter in Australia, the light changes early. Mum and dad are on the nest and the little ones are getting another feed. Notice how much they have grown. It is as if someone took them and stretched them in the last couple of days. They no longer appear like short fat little chicks but they are entering another phase where they will begin to look like thin reptiles with long necks.

Each is doing fine. There were not as many big fish yesterday as during the high winds but everyone was fed and no one was left out.

I literally checked into the White Bellied Sea Eagle nest to see how WBSE 27 and 28 are doing. Lady was feeding them.

That is WBSE 28 at the front of the nest with its big crop. 27 is practicing its self feeding with a small piece of prey.

This nest will have two fledges this year. I so hope the Pied Currawong do not chase them out of the forest so they can fly and return to the nest for more meals while they get their piloting in order.

Lady Hawk did a video of 27 learning to self-feed and 28 nibbling at her toes. Have a look:

The strongest earthquake in recorded history hit Melbourne, Australia yesterday.

https://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/earthquake-tremor-felt-across-melbourne-and-regional-victoria/news-story/f8dca1048e48a500e3308dabedfdb1c1

The first thing many thought of were the four eggs of the Peregrine Falcons at 367 Collins Street.

Dad was on the eggs at the time and stepped off wondering what was happening.

Everything appears to be fine. Some buildings were damaged but no one was killed. Thankfully! We are nearing hatch watch for this couple.

In Orange, the running joke has been Xavier wanting his time to incubate the eggs.

Xavier doesn’t want to give up his incubating time!

Do you know why the male Peregrine falcon is called Xavier? It is one of those heart wrenching stories that makes you love this little male bird even more.

Diamond’s eggs were ready to hatch. Her mate, Bula, disappeared and was presumed dead. As we all know, the chicks would have died. Instead, enter a new male who starts helping with the chicks and raises them as if they were his own. Because he was a ‘saviour’ of the family, he was named Xavier.

The researcher at Orange is Cilla Kinross. She did a cute video of the negotiations between Diamond and Xavier over the incubation duties.

Everything is changing at these four nests in Australia. The White-Bellied Sea Eagles are exercising their wings, jumping, and hopping about. They are getting more adept at self-feeding although 27 still is the one that gets to the prey first it seems. Lady does come in and feed them. Branching will be next but not for a bit, thankfully. We will be watching for the four at Collins street to hatch in about four or five days. Diamond and Xavier’s chicks will follow but not for a week or a little more. And, of course, the change in the Osplets at Port Lincoln will be significant. They will look like skinny reptiles all wound around one another. The key is that everything, at this moment in time, is just fine. There are no worries. So enjoy them!

It is another beautiful fall day in Manitoba. The Green Heron has departed and I always missed it. Perhaps another will come next year! The Blue Heron is also gone but I hear there are waves of Dark-Eyed Juncos headed towards the city. I cannot wait. They love to pick apart my red outdoor carpet. Such cuties. I am going out for a long walk and to check on the Wood Ducks. Perhaps they will cooperate and there will be some good photos for me to share with you.

Thank you for stopping by. Check out the streaming cams – the birds are doing great. And, if you feel up to it, shut down the negativity. There is already enough in the world. The birds bring us joy. Take care all. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, 367 Collins Street by Mirvan, Falcon Project Cam at Orange, Sea Eagles @ Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre.

Sunday in Ospreyland

The sun is shining bright, the birds are singing and it is 24 degrees C on the Canadian Prairies. Yes, you read that right. 24 C. No wonder my Hibiscus is doing well. We have the temperatures of the tropics! It will be 28 before the day is over. The only way to tell it is autumn in a couple of days is to look at the colour of the leaves.

The weather is not the only thing wonderful to wake up to. Thanks to the difference in time between Australia and Canada, the happenings on the Port Lincoln Osprey nest in the late afternoon are what I wake up to. And, my goodness, they are good! Dad came in with a really nice fish at 15:37. The Osplets were fed at 13:15, 15:37, 16:47, and again at 17:30.

All lined up nicely. These wee ones know precisely what to do. The feedings are starting to get a little longer as the trio grow. The oldest two hatched four hours apart on 13 September at 22:03 and 14 September 02:30. Little Bob hatched at 00:51:50 on 15 September. The close hatch times will really help this nest!

As we begin week 2, I am aware, like so many of you, that the potential for PLO to succeed with three fledges will be revealed in weeks 2 and 3. We are all very hopeful this year.

Look at the crops!

Dad eating some leftover fish.

Mom in the nest on the left and Dad on the perch on the right. It was a good day at Port Lincoln! Well done Mom and Dad.

These little ones are awfully squirmy. It is a wonder Mom gets any sleep. One of them wanted to peek out at 00:20:59.

Things are going so well. Port Lincoln needs good weather, good fishing, and a dad in tip top condition to get the food on the nest.

All of the UK Ospreys have begun their migration. George Anderson wrote an excellent article on migration and how climate change could impact our beloved birds. Here is the link:

https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/blog/2021/09/osprey-migration-facts-map/?fbclid=IwAR2uWIlfHTouFdcVIaHh6-bf3zOVAv9C6rn1KaScjlE1WkaOvJ7aUeAKGqU

My friend, ‘T’ wrote to tell me that the Dyfi on line shop will be opening in October. If Monty was one of your favourite Ospreys, you might want to check out Emyr Evans’ book, Monty. It is reasonably priced and I am told full of everything you could ever want to know about this beloved male. If you missed it, Monty and Glesni’s grandson Pont Cresor’s Blue 494 (son of Aeron Z2 and Blue 014) was photographed in Brittany on his very first migration this week.

While there are many other sightings of the birds, it is also confirmed that LR2, son of Laddie LM12 and Blue NC0 from Loch of the Lowes, was photographed in Trebujena, Spain this past week also.

This is a short trailer for a documentary about Ospreys. The images are stunningly beautiful. You need to have a look.

This documentary is due to be show on Nature on October 25th in North America. As I gather more specific details, I will post them.

Take care everyone. I am off to track down a Juvenile Green Heron. Wish me luck! Thanks for stopping by.

Thank you to the Port Lincoln Osprey Project’s streaming cam where I took my screen shots.

Gabby is home!

Gabrielle or Gabby flew into the NE Florida Bald Eagle nest near Jacksonville today, 12 September. She might well have been on the branches or around earlier but I have her at 19:33:12. What a wonderful sight – to have this fabulous couple back safe and sound on their nest. Samson doesn’t migrate and he was seen several times during the summer and, in particular, when the camera maintenance was taking place. Both eagles got busy inspecting the nest. They were digging around and I wondered if they were looking for ‘Eggie’ that Samson had buried last year after Legacy spent so much time taking care of it, incubating and rolling. Oh, Legacy, what an amazing character you turned out to be!

They seem to have a discussion. Samson is on the left in his Levi Black Stretch ‘Slim Fit’ jeans and Gabby is on the right.

I wonder why they are so preoccupied with this one spot. Is this really where ‘Eggie’ could be buried?

More discussions!

All is right in The Hamlet. How comforting seeing them both roosting on their branches of the nest tree. In 2020, Gabby returned on 12 September, too.

This is their third season. In 2019 they fledged Jules and Romey named after Samson’s parents, Romeo and Juliette. This was their nest – indeed, it is the nest where Samson hatched. Last year, they fledged Legacy. What a sweetheart. She sure stole a few hearts!

After all the excitement in NE Florida, I decided just to check on the other nests. No hatch, yet, at the Port Lincoln Osprey Nest. For those of you watching the Royal Cam chick, it has been confirmed that her neighbour chick, SSTrig, fledged late afternoon 12 August nest time. SSTrig is the first chick to hatch and fledge of adults, Green Lime Green and Red Lime Black. Tiaki and SSTrig did not always get along very well. You might remember their little altercations.

At the White Bellied Sea Eagle nest in Sydney, Australia, a bird arrived around 13:35 13 August. WBSE 28 was more or less in a submissive pose during the entire feeding. WBSE 27 ate 98% of the gull. I wondered what had happened earlier but the camera feed would not let me rewind that far back – which seemed odd since you can always go back at least 8-12 hours. But, not today.

The adults at the 367 Collins Street Osprey Nest in Melbourne continue to make their well rehearsed handover of incubation duties. These two are really quite incredible.

I know that some of you have been wondering why dad isn’t bringing mom food at the nest. Prey will not be brought until the eyases hatch. There is a place up above the nest where the male leaves prey for the female so she can eat.

Here is cute little dad.

And beautiful mom. A couple more weeks. These two better rest as much now as they can! Four eyases. Oh, my goodness. I cannot wait.

Xavier has come in to see if he can have a turn to incubate their eggs. Diamond doesn’t get off and hand over the duties as easily as the mom at Collins Street. Poor Xavier. Xavier will often bring prey to the ledge and Diamond will take it and fly out of the scrape to eat it.

Why do the two falcon couples do this? keep prey out of the scrape when there are eggs? For cleanliness and not to bring in any parasites or insects. That is also the reason that falcons do not use twig nests.

It is now the wee hours of the morning on the Canadian Prairies. I didn’t intend to write another blog but, oh how I wanted to let you know about Gabby. This is wonderful news. Harriet and M15 are back at the SW Florida Bald Eagle nest. And that reminds me that I need to check and see what is happening at Captiva.

Thank you for joining me for this quick alert. Have a great Monday everyone.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: The Falcon Cam at Charles Sturt University in Orange and Cilla Kinross, The 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, NE Florida Eagle Cam and the AEF, and Sea Eagles Cam@ Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre.

Sydney White-Bellied Sea Eaglets

There was concern that siblicide was occurring on the White-Bellied Sea Eagle nest in Sydney’s Olympic Park. It is time to put those fears aside. Prey delivery has become regularized and the two are fed regularly, growing, and are becoming curious about what is happening outside the nest.

The White-Bellied Sea Eagles are Australia’s second largest bird of prey. They have a wing span of 1.8-2.2 metres or 6-7 feet. They weigh up to 4.2 kg or 9 lbs. The female is larger and weighs more than the male. This is known as reverse sex size dimorphism. The adults on the Sydney Olympic Park Ironbark Tree are Lady and Dad. There have been a succession of breeding couples using this tree nest for decades.

In 2021, WBSE 27 hatched on 29 July at 4:57 and WBSE 28 hatched 31 July at 5:48 pm. Just to remind you how tiny they were here are two images in those first few days.

In the first image WBSE 27 was not quite 24 hours old.

In this one, WBSE is not quite 24 hours old and WBSE 27 is almost 48 hours old. You can clearly see the egg tooth, the white piece on the tip of the beak that helps them break through the hard egg shell.

Now look at the two of them. WBSE 27 is on the right with WBSE 28 on the left. You can see how 48 hours difference in age impacts the growth of the juvenile feathers.

In terms of the development, we are entering weeks 5 and 6. By week 5, the chicks will still have their white down. Pin feathers will appear on the shoulders, the back and the wing tips. If you look at the image above you can see these dark feathers coming in on each of the chicks. They should be standing on both feet, checking out the nest, and trying to pick up food. They may start to flap their wings. As we get to week 6, more and more of the dark feathers will begin to show all over the chick’s body. They will preen a considerable amount of time per day. They will now do more wing flapping and standing on both of their feet without the aid of the wings. They will continue efforts at self-feeding (if allowed, Lady does love to feed them!).

Looking forward to developments during week 7, the chicks will do a lot more preening as the dark brown juvenile feathers will continue to grow over their entire bodies. It has to be really itchy – those feathers coming in. Their tail will become noticeable. When they sit they may spread their wings. You may see them begin mantling. They will become more steady on their feet. One notable change is the chick’s interest in grapsing twigs and food with their feet. They should continue to work on self-feeding but this, of course, depends on whether or not prey is left on the nest for them to practice.

WBSE 27 is standing nicely on his feet. WBSE 28 still has a crop from an earlier feeding. You can really see how many wing feathers are coming in. Just look at that little tail developing.

It looks like 28 has a bit of a food coma. 27 is busy looking at what is happening outside the nest.

WBSE continues to work on its balance. Notice how it is holding out its wings for balance. Often the birds will use the tip of the win to keep them steady on their feet. By the end of the 6th week, they should be standing without using the wings. WBSE 28 is working hard to do this.

WBSE is also curious as to what the adult is doing up on the branch. Notice how 28 is sitting with its wings loose to the sides. Sometimes I find that the chicks on the nest are actually ahead of the development scales for that week.

Lady has come a long way in her parenting skills. Both chicks wait their turn to be fed. She will give 28 a few bites and then 27 and then back to 28. This method has given the chicks food security and reduced the pecking of 28 by 27.

Lady always looks like she is smiling to me.

Here is the link to the Sydney Sea Eagle Cam.

Thank you so much for joining me. I know that there are so many people who love these little eagles and I wanted to reassure all that the nest is very calm and peaceful and the chicks are developing normally. Take care everyone. Stay safe.

Thank you to the Sea Eagle Cam@ Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots.

Late Tuesday happenings in Bird World

There is an excellent and rather cheeky article on the penthouse of our Collins Street Peregrine Falcons in Meanjin Quarterly coming out of Australia. The author is Ester Anatolitis. It is outrageously funny and clever. Check it out!

For anyone who missed the news, the female at Collins Street laid that second egg today at 16:43. Yahoo!

I am posting a video that was shared on one of my Osprey FB groups today. There is a bit of foul language but it is the subject and the ‘heart’ of what is going on that is important and that is why I want you to find it and watch it. It also happened in Canada! Near Ottawa. A juvenile Osprey takes its first flight. Where does it land up? On the ground, of course! It is found by this couple who help it. If you have read my posts about Malin, this is what should have happened Thursday night. The wildlife rehabber should have been allowed access to the gate and stairs to get to the top of the tower with her binoculars. She could have found Malin and helped him – just like this couple did this Osprey!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/829595230542720/posts/1938586209643611

I was actually trying not to mention Malin for once but, this video caught my eye because it is the ‘right thing to do’. The man found the Osprey in the grass after its first flight. He helped the little one out of the grass. And flapped his arms and helped it until it could fly back to its nest. Bravo.

I am really keen on tracking and banding. Originally satellite trackers were used to study the foraging ranges of sea birds. In fact, that is precisely what is going on with the Royal Cam adults in New Zealand currently. More recently, however, trackers are used to study the migratory strategies and to identify the wintering grounds of several species. Others use them to study how weather conditions influence migration. This information and much more data like it will become paramount as we try to establish if the climate crisis has an impact on breeding and wintering grounds.

This is Karl II. Karl has been fitted with a satellite transmitter for a number of years. This is his last appearance of the nest that she shares with Grafiene in the Karula National Forest in Estonia. The couple raised three healthy fledglings this year. Karl II was last seen on 22 August at 15:50. Satellite tracking indicated that Karl II was on his usual routing towards the Black Sea.

Karl II is an expert at migration. He travels from his breeding area in the Karula National Park in Estonia to spend the night in the Sebezhsky National Part in northwest Russia.

The latest transmission on the 24th shows Karl II travelled 278 km and is now near the Berezina River east of Minsk in Belarus.

The satellite tracking further showed that Karl II looked for food in the wet areas around the river and went to sleep in a forest on the bank of the river. It is an area known as the Berezinsky Biosphere Reserve.

The following information was posted about the place where Karl II is located.

“It is situated on the flat watershed of the Baltic and Black Seas, in low valley in the basin of the Berezina River. Landscape is a mosaic of coniferous and deciduous forests, lakes, peatlands (60 %), rivers, floodplain and small arable fields. Climate is temperate continental, humid, precipitation total: 690 mm/year. Average annual air temperature is 5.2 °C.
The Berezina is the main river in the reserve, flowing through its territory for over 110 km. There are 7 small lakes with the total area being about 2000 hectares in the reserve. The flora comprises more then 2000 species with 804 species of vascular plants (42 rare for Belarus).”

“File:Spring day on the river Biarezina in April.jpg” by Maria Gnedina is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

The female, Pikne, was the last fledgling to leave the nest for her migration. She loved being fed by dad. She is also the fledgling that has made the most straightforward routing. She flew from Latvia to Belarus and then on to the Ukraine. The map below shows the leg from Belarus to the Ukraine. She will do doubt be further still when her transmitter data is next recorded. In one day she flew 379 km.

Udu was confused in his travels. Everything seems corrected now. It is like driving a different way than Google Maps tells you and Google adjusts for the error. At the time of the latest satellite transmission, Udu had traveled 604 km in total. What the researchers are noticing is that while, Pikne is going the normal Asia Minor or Eastern route, Udu is heading towards Germany and the Western route. He was last in Poland heading southwest to Germany. This is very interesting.

There are issues, as I stated in an earlier posting, with the transmissions from the other male, Tuul. The transmission data showed little movement. I am awaiting news. It is possible that the transmitter is faulty.

The last combined image of the routes of the three for comparison.

At the same time I would like to show you what other information that the researchers and citizen birders can access. On the left hand side you can find the precise location of the bird, the speed they are travelling, and their altitude – just as if you were tracking a plane on FlightRadar. This particular information is for Pikne.

Things are not going well on the WBSE nest of Lady and Dad in the Sydney Olympic Park. Everyone was hopeful that the two sea eaglets, similar size, would get along and thrive. There was some bonking in the beginning but not a lot. That, however, has changed significantly because of the lack of prey delivered to the nest. WBSE 27 totally dominates the now much smaller 28. 27 is 27 days old and 28 is 25 days old. The rains started the issues related to prey delivery.

In the image below 27 has completely controlled the feeding and has a large crop. 28 was too frightened to try and eat.

Even when the parent is gone Little 28 is afraid to move. Like every little abused second or third hatch, 28 knows to keep its eyes open, to listen, and to keep its head down.

Little 27 waits til 28’s food starts making it sleepy and the little one moves up to the piece of prey left on the nest. 27 doesn’t care now. This is the perfect time for the parent to return to the nest and feed this baby who is so hungry.

The survival stories of our Ospreys Tiny Tot and Tiny Little are being played out on this nest in the life of 28. The Little one is starving. It needs food. It will be the first to self-feed. It is unclear if 28 got any of the food but it knows what to do. Let us hope that it is as clever as our two great survivors this year!

27 has fallen asleep. It is unclear if 28 was able to get any food. I somehow doubt it.

Lady returns. Wakes up the ‘beast’ and 27 begins hammering 28. This is turning into a horrible situation. Please send your positive energy that lots of food will come to this nest so that both are fed full! This little one needs to eat to survive.

This image was shot later in the day, hours after the morning attacks by WBSE 27.

I was told that a big fish had come on to the nest and both were fed well but I cannot find that in the footage of the streaming cam. What I do see is continued dominance and abuse by 27 over 28. No one will intervene.

I want to close with something nice because it is out there and we have to remind ourselves continually that there is ‘light’. At the same time, positive energy needs to go out to little 28 so that he can survive and thrive like Tiny Tot and Tiny Little.

One of the chicks destined to die of starvation on a nest was Tiny Little Bob, Blue 463, at the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest in Cumbria. But, she didn’t. She lived to become the dominant one on the nest (as did Tiny Tot at Achieva). My last post had Blue 463 screaming her head off for a fish. Well, guess what? It worked! Dad, White YW, brought her in a really nice headless fish. Tiny Little went to bed with her crop full.

So when you think that the worst is happening with WBSE 28 just remember that the ones who survive do it by being clever, by watching and listening, learning how to overcome and get what they want ——— just like that big fish about to arrive on the Foulshaw Moss nest for her queen, Tiny Little!

Take care everyone. Thank you for joining me. I hope you do not mind my including some repetition on the satellite tracking of the Estonian Black Storks. I wanted you to know where Karl II had been and is. Some do not read the newsletter every day and it is good to remember that banding and tracking are valuable tools in studying our beloved birds. I hope to have updated information on the Udu and Pikne’s locations tomorrow. Perhaps there will also be word on Tuul.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: The Eagle Club of Estonia, Sea Eagle Cam, Birdlife Australia, and The Discovery Centre, The Cumbria Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Cam.

A Cracker of a Day for Malin

Oh, it’s a cracker of a day! We know that the Sharp-shinned Hawk that comes to our garden is here often but since the extreme head we had not seen him. He flipped around on the lines bringing the Internet into the house and then in a blink was in the lilac bushes. He stayed there for about ten minutes and out he flew between the houses heading north. No chance for a photo but I tried! We feed approximately 300 urban birds a day – yes, you read that right. I never grieve over the single sparrow that Sharpie is sometimes able to catch. He has to eat, too.

Sharpie is an aberration according to Cornell Bird Labs. He should not be living on the Canadian Prairies in the winter but he does! He is a year round resident. It was his mate – in January 2017 – that changed my life. It is so good to see him.

Malin is such a sweetheart. He has the sweetest face. It has been a good day for Malin, too.

Last night, Malin slept on a piece of fish about the size of the one in front and to the right of him. There was also a small Bullhead on the nest last night. Malin woke up and ate the fish he was sleeping on. Mom arrived and shared the Bullhead with him. On top of those two, Malin had four other deliveries today. A total of 6 fish! His crop is about to pop. We have never seen this Osprey chick this full. I wonder if he will use this fish as a pillow? save it for breakfast? or finish it off a little later? He is one lucky little Osprey today.

Those pesky little sea eagles will have several good feeds today, too!

WBSE 27 is the one on the left and cutie pie WBSE 28 is on the right.

There is still a tiny bit of egg tooth left but it is disappearing quickly. If you look closely under that soft down are there little pin feathers growing?

WBSE 27 hatched on 29 July and WBSE 28 hatched on 31 July. Today, they are 17 and 15 days old. This is the end of week 2 going into week 3.

  • Week 2: The wee ones are covered all in white down. Their beak is starting to grow longer but the egg tooth (the white dot) is still visible.
  • Week 3: We should be seeing the bill and the eyes enlarged but still the white down. The chicks are now doubled in size from when they hatched. They are looking around and noticing things.
  • Week 4: Those pin feathers I wondered about are starting to show on the wings. You will see them begin to preen their feathers and they should be moving around the nest picking up sticks and leaves. They will also be resting on their tarsus assisted by their wings for balance. The tarsus is the part of the leg from the top of the foot to the knee.

Ah, so sweet when they are asleep and growing!

The day is yet to begin in Latvia and Estonia. We wish that those beautiful Black Storklings get lots of fish today.

Thank you so much for joining me for this quick update on Malin. We are so pleased that Malin has had lots of fish today. He is getting so big and no doubt the more he eats the stronger the little one will get for fledge. The featured image is our little cute Malin. Take care. See you soon.

Thanks to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Collins Marsh Nature Centre and Sea Eagles, Birdlife Australia, and The Discovery Centre.

The Hornbill

There are over 50 different varieties of Hornbill. The one that I want to focus on today is the Rhinoceros Hornbill. It is the State Bird of Malaysia. I became acquainted with these amazing birds during a trip to the Sarawak in East Malaysia many years ago.

The arrow points to Sarawak. The Rhinoceros Hornbill is present also in Sabah as well as Borneo, in yellow.

You could not move through the area around the harbour of Kuching without seeing ‘something’ decorated with the motif of a hornbill – from table cloths, batik wall hangings, phone cases, and old and not-so-old wood carvings. To actually see these highly endangered birds you needed a guide to take you to the jungle areas where local tribes still live in their long houses. There the hornbill was also used as a design for the totems on the poles supporting their roof as well as on many of the art of tattoos.

“Iban? Long House near Kuching” by rosskevin756 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The weavers of the area specialize in ikat. Ikat is a type of resist dying. The threads are resist dyed before they are woven. The pattern in the textile below is called the ‘Feather of the Hornbill’.

Old carving of Hornbill, Ironwood. Sarawak Museum, Kuching.

The Rhinoceros Hornbill is depicted in numerous designs in wood carving. The wooden figure above is a Kenyalang. Historically, these carvings were associated with many of the tribes in Sarawak, Sabah, and Borneo. For the Iban, the figure is an essential part of a celebration called the Gawai Kenyalang. Its role was as a messenger. It called upon the spirit world to give courage to the warriors who went out headhunting. The carvings are still made today and they are still important for the various tribal communities. Head hunting ended in the 20th century and most of the carvings are considered cultural icons.

The Rhinoceros Hornbill is a large bird, 80 to 90 cm (31–35 in) long. The males are larger than the females. The birds are covered with black feathers except for the white tail that has a single black band. Their legs are white. The Hornbill is most notable for its colourful bill which is huge. In fact, that orange and red bill is what gave the bird its name. The Hornbill uses this lightweight beak to gather its food, build its nests, seal the nest, and feed the chicks. The structure on top of the bill is called a casque. It is hollow and its function is to amplify the call of the birds. The eyes of the male are red with black rims while those of the female are white with a red rim like the one below.

“Rhinoceros Hornbill” by shankar s. is licensed under CC BY 2.0

In comparison, this is an image of the male so that you can see the difference in their eye colour. It is the easiest way to recognize each of the genders.

“Rhinoceros Hornbill” by Steve Wilson – over 10 million views Thanks !! is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Hornbills are very unique in their nesting habits. They are cavity nesters but with a twist. When the female is ready to lay her 1-3 eggs, she will locate a cavity in a tree trunk (or sometimes a rock formation) to make her nest. Once made she helps her bonded-for-life mate seal her into the cavity with mud. The only opening is a small oval hole where the male feeds the female during her confinement that lasts 50 days. He also feeds the nestlings. This arrangement is very practical. It helps protect the nest from any type of predator including lizards and snakes. Ninety days after the chicks hatch, the female will break open the mud covering to the nest.

The Rhinoceros Hornbill is listed as vulnerable. One of the biggest threats to its existence is the loss of the rainforest where it lives and builds its nest. It is also hunted for food as well as for items that are believed to give men virility including the feathers and the skull. The large trees that occupied the forested areas of Borneo are being cut down at an alarming rate. When I was there the wood was being shipped to China on those huge boats. It was overwhelming to see the forest being obliterated.

“Rhinoceros Hornbill (Buceros rhinoceros)” by Mark Louis Benedict is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

In other news, Tiny Little Bob or Blue 463 nabbed the first fish of the morning on the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest in Cumbria. Tiny Little was busy eating it while sibling 462 waited on the nest. Tiny Little is off to a great start to the day! Go Tiny Little!

Karl II arrived at 8:10 to feed the three fledglings on the Black Stork nest in Estonia. The fledglings were incredible.

The glare of the sun on the camera creates a strong glow so you can’t see clearly what is going on. Karl arrives on the right and feeds the hungry storklings quickly. The nest is in the Karula National Park in Estonia.

One of the Storklings on the Siguldas Black Stork nest in Latvia has decided to get up close and personal with the camera and its supports while it waits for Grafs or Grafiene to bring them their breakfast.

The good news at the Peregrine Falcon Nest in the scrape box on the grounds of Charles Sturt University in Orange, Australia is that Izzi – cute little Izzi – has not been in the scrape box for six days. He has been heard but he has not gone in after several altercations with Xavier. Diamond, Izzi’s mother, is expected to lay her eggs by the end of August. Here is Diamond looking out over her territory.

Also in Australia, the two little sea eaglets, 27 and 28, are just cute. They are really growing. Dad brought in a life fish and was going to feed them today. Lady flew in and stepped on the fish before it could flop all over the chicks. Then she took over the feeding. Both ate well but 27 had an enormous crop.

It continues to be as good a day as it can be in Bird World. The juvenile Ospreys are eating and eating preparing to being their migration. For some of the UK nests the average number of days is around 90 hatch days old for fledging. We will be keeping our eyes open to see who is leaving.

Thank you so much for joining me. Have a wonderful Friday everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: WBSE Sea Eagle Cam, Birdlife Australia and the Discovery Centre, Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest, Falconcam Osprey Project, C Sturt University and Cilla Kinross, the Eagle Club of Estonia, and the Latvian Fund for Nature.

Pair Bonding

The term ‘Pair bonding’ was first used in the 1940s. In terms of birds, it refers to a long-lasting relationship that results in breeding, care of one another, the nestlings and fledglings.

Pair bonding is “reinforced by ritual behaviour.” That is a very simple definition. A good example of on going pair bonding, is the ‘Morning Duet’ of Lady and Dad on the White Bellied Sea Eagle nest in Sydney, Australia. In fact, the rituals associated with pair bonding often occur at various intervals as a means of reinforcing the relationship not just before breeding.

This is Lady and Dad doing their duet together.

Pair bonding rituals also take place as many ‘bird couples’ prepare to begin their long migration. Working on nests is also happening, preening one another is on the rise. It reminds me of certain war movies where the couples seal their relationship as the male heads off to the field of battle – that sealing often consisting of an engagement ring or a promise to wait for the other. It is precisely the same with our birds. In this instance, both will migrate and each will hope that the other returns to the nest in the spring to renew their bond.

Aran has undertaken any number of sky dances with fish deliveries for Mrs G this week at their nest in the Glaslyn Valley.

Blue 022 and CJ7 continue to work on a nest in the midst of sky diving, fish deliveries, and mating. Sadly, they have chosen one of the Poole Harbour nests that doesn’t have a camera! Still, it is wonderful that they have remained together since spring and that brings promise to everyone that osprey chicks will hatch in Poole Harbour once again.

This evening, my friend, ‘R’ sent me the links to the two short videos below. It seems that Bukacek, the single father White Stork, in Mlade Buky and his new love, are sealing ‘the deal’. You can see some of the community coming out to watch – what a happy ending to such a tragic season for Bukacek.

Xavier and Diamond, the resident bonded pair of Peregrine Falcons whose scrape box is on top of the water tower of Charles Sturt University, are not migrating. Indeed, they are just beginning their breeding season. They continue to pair bond in the scrape. Here is a short video clip I made today so you can see this ritual:

According to the Falcon Cam Project of Dr Cilla Kinross, the average date for the first egg is 27 August. Here is the historical information for Diamond:

  • 2015 with Bula. 31 August, 2 September, 6 September
  • 2016 with Bula. 31 August, 2 September, 6 September
  • 2017 with Xavier. 26 August, 28 August, 31 August
  • 2018 with Xavier. 20 August, 22 August, 24 August
  • 2019 with Xavier. 28 August, 31 August, 2 September
  • 2020 with Xavier. 27 August, 29 August, 1 September

It is going to be so exciting when the little white balls of fur hatch. Can’t wait!

Other Nest News:

Some of us watching Malin on the Collins Marsh Osprey Cam are simply left shaking our heads. The female has been absent from the nest the last three Saturday nights in a row. There is no perch to the nest (they seriously need one). In addition, fish delivery just goes ‘off’ at the weekend. Malin slept alone through a thunder storm with lighting and rain last night and did not receive a single fish today – Sunday. Oh, I can hear you thinking that Ospreys do not need to eat every day and you are absolutely right. In fact, Tiny Tot on the Achieva Nest had 12 full 24-hour days that she did not get food. Often the parents teach the chicks that food does not always come every day. Still, the weekend pattern with this pair of adults mystifies me. Both came to the nest for short spurts without fish today. Malin was food calling (finally) late in the day. She is such a sweet little Osprey – and everyone is delighted that her droopy wing and feathers seem to be filling in and correcting themselves. So, once again, let’s put the optimist’s hat on and hope that there will be 5 fish deliveries tomorrow for Malin! Come on Mom and Dad prove me wrong and bring 6 big ones.

Malin’s beautiful feathers quickly dried out.

At one point, Malin was so excited when Mom arrived that she began to flap her wings and so some little hops. It is reassuring to see those feathers improve every day. We are all hoping for some big fish for your tomorrow, Malin!

A few of us have been calling the Collins Marsh chick, Malin which means ‘mighty little warrior’. That is because it had neither a number or a name. The Neustadter Nature Center at Collins Marsh is having an official naming contest. My friend ‘S’ just told me about this. I am so sorry it is such short notice but please go to their FB site and enter a name in the comments. Put in your favourite name – it doesn’t have to be Malin! I want the Nature Centre to see that there are many people, from around the world, interested in these Ospreys! But be fast. The names must be in by closing time tomorrow, Monday, 10 August. Here is the link where you can go and simply add a name in the thread:

https://www.facebook.com/Neustadter-Nature-Center-at-Collins-Marsh-140052786074932

After Monday, the names will be short listed. Please go back to this FB site and vote for your favourite. Thank you!

There are now three eggs in the Port Lincoln Osprey Nest. They were laid on 3, 6, and 9 August. That means that there is already six days between the first and the last. This nest always makes me nervous because of its history of siblicide. But, I am going to strike an optimistic note this year and take a wait and see attitude.

The White Rock Fire that was threatening Dr Christian Sasse’s property where he live streams his programmes on Ospreys and Bald Eagles is no longer out of control. Rain and the gallant efforts of the firefighter’s seem to have stifled this wildfire. This is great news for all the people and the wildlife. Let us hope that rain pours down on all the wildfires.

Thank you for joining me. It is so nice to have you here. Please go on line and put in a name for the little chick. Take care. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots and video clips: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Collins Marsh Nature Centre, Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn, Sea Eagles, Birdlife Australia and the Discovery Centre, Falcon Cam Project at Charles Sturt University and Dr C Kinross.

Hawks definitely do not like children

By 18:30, the smoke and the temperatures were cooperating and it seemed like a good time to go and check on the Cooper’s Hawk family in Assiniboine Park. When I arrived at the Park, there were several cricket games going on, families were meeting and sharing a pot luck outside – many for the first time since spring 2020, there were birthday parties and children running around.

When I found the spot and knew where the hawks had their nest and were hunting for bugs and chipmunks the other day, there were children running around. I could see the hawks in the sky circling. They never went to the nest tree or came to the ground. It is the life of a birder. It would be wonderful to see them a few more times before migration. The Canada Geese do not usually begin leaving until the middle of September through to the end of October. I have seen some miss the group and wind up walking about on an early snow. Weather is such a significant factor in the challenges our birds face.

For those who are not sure what migration actually is. Our feathered friends Move from one area for breeding during the spring and summer to another area for winter. They have adapted to the pattern of coming and going in order to survive. It is based on food supplies.

Different species travel different routes to their winter homes. These are long journeys. For example, the Ospreys in the United Kingdom will travel some 8,000 kilometres or 5,000 miles to places in Africa. The birds will fly over land, sea, and desert to reach their destinations. People wonder why the birds just don’t live in Africa all the time. The answer is rather simplistic: there would not be enough nesting sites or food for all of them plus their chicks. There are also a lot of very hungry predators ready to take those lovely fluffy little ones. So they disperse from Africa to sites in the United Kingdom and Europe.

The birds decide when it is time for them to migrate. The hormones in their body begin to change. Unlike spring when this hormone change leads to breeding, the autumn sees the birds restless until they know that it is time to depart. These hormones trigger a lot of eating. Fat begins to gather under their skin. They gain weight. It is that fat that will see them through their migration. Still, they stop and feed along the way. Normally they hunt for food in the early mornings and late afternoons. High pressure systems are good for flying but low pressure systems bring winds and rain. When the birds get into a low pressure system, they will normally stop flying, if they can, and wait til another high pressure system comes through. Migration times vary because of the winds and the weather. Birds that soar and ride the thermals can travel as much as 465 km or 300 miles in a stretch. Some gather in flocks like the storks in Latvia and Estonia. Sometimes birds pair up to migrate. For the Ospreys, the female leaves and the male stays behind until there are no fledglings crying for food.

Not all birds migrate. Even I have a sedentary Sharp-shinned Hawk that defies all logic to stay on the Canadian prairies for the winter. The Osprey in Australia do not migrate. The birds in the Amazon Rainforest do not migrate. There is plenty of food and nesting sites for them year round. This past spring and early summer there was much discussion over the migration of birds from Florida. In Jacksonville, Samson, the father of Legacy, stays in the area of the nest year round. Gabrielle, on the other hand, migrates north – yes north – to cooler summer climates. This year she might have discovered it is hotter up north! Even some of the Ospreys in Florida do not migrate; they stay year round. There are plenty of fish for them as well as nests.

Birds take different routes. The White Storks from Latvia either taken a western route or an eastern route. Dr Erick Greene and his team in Montana study the migratory movements of the Ospreys from the Clark Fork River area with satellite transmitters. In the United States, some fly over Hawk Mountain where there is an annual count. In fact, you can go to this site to see the number of birds traveling over this marvellous area with its thermals. Here is the link for you for their autumn migration count that will being in about a week!

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

Migration is extremely challenging and we hope that all of the adults will return to their nests the following spring and that we will see the juveniles who take their first flight to Africa in a couple of years.

And now for some birding and nest news

Poole Harbour: Blue 022 and CJ7 who were so visible until a few weeks ago sky dancing, mating, and working on the nest with the streaming cam are now working on another nest in the area. There is no camera. They are still doing everything together and everyone is looking forward to the first hatches in Poole Harbour for 200 years.

Dahlgren: A large part of the nest in King George, Virginia, collapsed today. It will be fixed in the fall well after Jack and Harriet’s migration.

Kielder Forest: All 16 of the 2021 juveniles have fledged successfully. Everyone is elated. This is 6 more fledglings than their previous best year. Congratulations everyone!

Mlade Buky: Bucachek and his new love spent the night on the nest in Mlade Buky, Czechoslovakia. Oh, how sweet! Just as the dawn is beginning to appear, they are both preening.

Balloons, something that impacts all birds: Virginia, Maine, Maryland, and Delaware have or are going to pass shortly the release of balloons. Hawaii has already passed a law on helium balloons.

Port Lincoln Ospreys, Australia: Dad and Mom have been taking turns incubating the eggs. Here is dad on the nest. A little earlier he had been pestering Mom. He kept pulling on that turquoise rope wanting his turn. It was too funny. The Port Lincoln Ospreys are an example of sedentary birds. They do not migrate. There is no need.

Loch Arkaig: The two juveniles of Louis and Dorcha have now fledged. I have not heard anything about the chosen names yet.

Collins Marsh: Malin was a little wet off and on during Saturday. S/he is sleeping on the nest alone tonight. There is no perch – let us hope that the parent or both parents are in a nearby tree in case there are any owls about. It seems like a pattern. Does mom always spend Saturday night off the nest?

WBSE, Sydney Olympic Forest: 27 and 28 continue to eat until their crops almost burst and sleep. Meanwhile there has been an intruder today and Lady and Dad were honking in alert.

And last but very special, A Place Called Hope. Along with other wildlife centres, they are receiving quite a number of starving Great Blue Herons and other herons. Why would they be starving? It has been raining in the Connecticut area and all the herbicides and pesticides that people put on their lawns and gardens makes its way into the environment, into the water table, into the ponds. It is poison. If your gardening centre or lawn care person tells you that the chemicals they use are ‘Green’ – well, think again. Whatever they are using kills. So sad. It is OK if your lawn doesn’t look emerald green.

Thank you so much for joining me today. Have a lovely Sunday. Take care of yourselves. I look forward to seeing you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and their FB pages where I grab my screen shots: A Place Called Hope, Mlade Buky White Stork Cam, Collins Marsh Osprey Nest, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, and Sea Eagles, Birdlife Australia and the Discovery Centre.

The featured image is Dad at the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge taking his turn incubating his two eggs.

Tiny Little, it is good to see you!

Friday morning started off fantastic with Tiny Little on the nest alone food calling. She was later joined by older sibling, 462.

What you need to know is that Tiny Little had an entire fish to herself a little earlier for breakfast! Just look at her enjoying that fish!

7:45 nest time. Nice fish delivered by White YW to his girl.

Tiny Little returned later and was joined by 462. Yes, I said that already! They waited and waited. All that waiting and food calling paid off! Both Tiny Little (or Bobbie to some) and older sibling got a fish – older sib gets the flounder, Tiny Little has something else (?). Dad, you are fantastic. This is the way to keep the kids happy and quiet.

Tiny Little is the fledgling on the right. She is a ‘big’ girl! I am just so delighted to be able to see her. She is growing and growing. Tiny simply doesn’t fit anymore!!!!!!

This is the link to the Osprey Nest at Foulshaw Moss managed by Cumbrian Wildlife Trust:

https://www.cumbriawildlifetrust.org.uk/wildlife/cams/osprey-cam

But there was more happiness. To top it off, the little Osprey nestling at Collins Marsh Nature Centre had two feedings before 9:30 this morning. If this pace keeps up Malin is really going to have a big growth spurt this week. Already the tail and back feathers are remarkably changed from last week.

And another feeding here. So happy to see these parents stepping up the food. Malin is really starting to present as a juvenile Osprey now. I keep looking at those little feet – wonder if we have a little boy here? Male or female it doesn’t matter. Malin is really a gorgeous/handsome.

The link to the Osprey nest at Collins Marsh is here:

https://www.cumbriawildlifetrust.org.uk/wildlife/cams/osprey-cam

One of my readers was asking about the nest for the Black Storks in Latvia. I was able to find some information and a couple of images so that you can see the beautiful forests in the area.

The nest is in a forest in the Sigulda region of Latvia. It is 53 km southeast of the capital, Riga. It is the orange area on the map below.

The area is home to Sigulda New Castle and the remains of a medieval castle built in 1207.

The image below is the New Castle.

“Siguldas jaunā pils (Sigulda Castle)” by twiga_swala is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Through the forest you can see the New Castle.

These are the remains of the medieval castle. It is a major tourist site and because of this, Latvia has stabilized some of the walls so it can be fully appreciated.

The nest in the forest is on a pine branch that extends about 1.8 metres from the trunk of the tree. So, in plain English, the nest is on a branch that is sticking out —- just a big branch! I know. Take a deep breath. It could make you nervous. The nest is 18 metres from the ground. Imagine these storks on such a branch! I kept thinking they could slide off the edge.

The youngest storkling is 53 days old today. It is flapping its wings and gets really excited. The eldest is 56 days old and the middle one is 54 days.

The adults, Grafs and Grafiene, have to be very careful when they come to feed their little ones now so they do not slide off the nest. It is getting a little crowded as the nestlings grow!

One of the moderators for the nest forum created a video of Grafiene coming to feed the storklings about one month ago. It is very short but shows us just how much these nestlings have grown in that time. Just look how tiny they were.

All of the storks meet to begin their migration. ‘S’ tells me that they land on the tops of all the houses, the hydro poles, and the trees. And then they begin clacking and this is the beginning of their long journey as far as South Africa. Everyone is a little sad when they leave.

The link to the Latvian Black Storks is here:

Don’t all babies look sweet when they are sleeping? The little sea eaglets are no exception. You would never know that they are so tired from all the mischief they cause when their parents aren’t watching.

They look like little angels.

Dad is making sure that there is lots of food on the nest.

Here is the link to the White-Bellied Sea Eagle nest in Sydney’s Olympic Park. It is the only WBSE nest in the world that is streaming live. One of the really neat things is just listening to the forest sounds when the streaming cam is on. You will hear many Australian birds. There are lots of YouTube videos of the birds and the sounds they make. Just do a search of ‘Australian Bird Sounds’.

There has been a lot of chatter about when the female ospreys in the UK will be leaving the nests and heading off on their migration. Blue NC0 is still up at the Loch of the Lowes working hard, along with Laddie, to feed LM 1 and LM 2. She is known to catch big fish and this morning she brought in a whopper. The sad part was NC0 worked so hard to get this fish out of the water and on to the nest and one of the kids let it fly off the nest. It happens but we all must appreciate the real effort these parents put into feeding these juveniles especially when they must be eating themselves, fattening up, to make their journeys.

NC0 has turned into one wonderful mom over the season. It has been such a joy to watch her develop from when the little ones hatched and we had no idea if she was going to figure out how to feed them!

The fledglings still associate the nest with food so you might still get in some good action. This has to be one of the most beautiful nest locations in the world. When I went to check, I could see the Ospreys flying around and food calling on the branches at the top left of the image below. So turn up your sound and look there when you check on this nest.

Here is the link to their camera:

I checked to see if the names had been announced for Louis and Dorcha’s chicks on the ‘other’ Lock Arkaig nest. There seems to be no mention or I have missed it. So hold on. Will let you know as soon as I hear anything! I am also waiting for the Collins Street Peregrine Falcon cam to come on live. You are going to be in for a real treat with that falcon nest! I promise.

Thank you for joining me today. I hope everyone is well. Tomorrow I am heading out to find the local hawk. Expect news to come in the late afternoon for all the nests. Enjoy your weekend. Stay safe.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cameras where I took my screen shots: The Latvian Fund for Nature and the Sigulda Black Stork Nest, the Collins Marsh Nature Centre and Osprey Cam, the Sea Eagles, Birdlife Australia, and Discovery Centre, the Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Friends of the Loch of the Lowes.