It seems like it was almost yesterday when the female Bald Eagle at Duke Farms in Hillsborough, New Jersey was encased in snow.
And then, there were two! The first eaglet hatched on 26 of February while the second one made its way out of that hard shell on 3 March. They were nicknamed ‘Li’l’ and ‘Big’ by the chatters on the Duke Farm streaming cam. And many worried that ‘Li’l’ was not getting enough to eat.
Here they are precisely two weeks later. Look who is in front!
And here they are today with juvenile plumage. Very beautiful and healthy eaglets! When they are banded, one or both of them will be fitted with a satellite transmitter. Rumours say it is EagleTrax brand.
Duke Farms is not new to banding or tracking and I really applaud them for this. On 1 May 2019 they banded the younger male E/88 and fitted him out with a satellite tracker. They wanted to know where the juveniles went after they fledged. This is a question many have been begging to find out about the eyasses of Big Red and Arthur, the Red-Tail Hawks whose nest is on the campus of Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. Where do they go? do they survive? The eaglet was named ‘Duke’. Duke went on line on 17 September 2019. He made several trips to Pennsylvania, several back into New Jersey and settled in Maryland on the Susquehanna River in the Upper Chesapeake Valley. He returned to New Jersey in early November 2020. On 24 November 2020 he was photographed eating a deer carcass with an immature female in a field. On 19 January 2021 he was actually at the Millstone River in New Jersey, close to his natal nest.
If you want to see images of ‘Duke’ please go to this site:
Achieva Osprey Update: There has been a lot of fish delivered to this Osprey nest in Dunedin, Florida today. I have actually lost count. At least 5 or 6 and Jack just came in with a big hunk of fish and left because Diane still had fish she was feeding, The issue is: Tiny had only a few bites all day. It is an extremely sad situation. Tiny had a few bites today while the others ate and ate. There was a delivery at 4:53:28 and this one hot on the heels at 6:56:30. Tiny has managed to get between the mother’s legs and is getting some bites – some were nice size. It is 7:30. But Diane moves away and takes the fish and the two big ones are now resting on the nest and eating! Tiny gets some food around 8pm but Diane is feeding one of the big ones at the same time.
The light is going away. Tiny has managed to grab some bites. This was a really big fish. There should have been lots for him. You can see the tail to the left of Diane’s feet.
Diane has moved the fish again and is feeding Tiny and one of the big ones. The big one leaves and Diane is getting some food too. Tiny gets some bites. It is unclear how much of the fish is left or how much Tiny will get. The fish was moved again and Tiny started eating again around 8:19. It looks in the poor light that he might have a crop. Oh, my. How grand.
Thank you for joining me today. I hope the weather is nice where you are. The snow is still coming down on the Canadian prairies.
Thank you to the streaming cams at Duke Farms and the Achieva Credit Union in Dunedin, Florida.
After watching the Port Lincoln Osprey Nest last year and Iris at Hellsgate in Montana, I vowed ‘never again’. The death of the third hatch, little Tapps, was simply too much. I vowed to stick with watching Big Red and Arthur at the Fernow Nest in Ithaca, New York, two or three Peregrine Falcon nests, and I would check in occasionally on the Royal Albatross at Taiaroa Head. But then something happened and the Achieva Osprey nest became a constant while I waited for Big Red and Arthur to start their nest renovations and the eggs to arrive and watched others periodically. I remember before the notion of competition set in that it was so lovely to see the three politely standing and being fed. It gave me hope. I watched the 2020 highlights of the Loch Arkaig Osprey nest and fell in love with Louis, Aila, Doddie, Vera, and of course, JJ7 – Captain. Tiny Tot reminds me, in a way, of the challenges that JJ7 could have had but, didn’t. Louis fished day and night to feed his family and he was on the nest helping Aila tandem feed. One took JJ7, the tiny little male, third born – the ‘tercel’. The other parent fed the two bigger ones. Everyone thrived! Just thinking about it puts a smile on my face.
It was a very good thing that Tiny Tot, the youngest on the Achieva Osprey nest had its own private feeding yesterday from 4:27-4:48. Tiny was so full that even with Diane insisting, he could not hold another bite. Today, he had only about five small morsels of fish. The two early fish deliveries were too small to fill Tiny up never mind 1 and 2. But Tiny did bide his time and got up when there was some fish left to have 2 step in and decide it was not full enough. Having waited long enough for Jack to deliver food, Diane brought in a nice sized fish to feed all at 7:22. Then Jack showed up, with a crop, and took it before she could even feed a bite to the chicks. It was dark when Jack returned the fish but, I bet he ate the nice head. Normally, I would agree he should. It is hard work fishing – they say that they have a 20% success rate. But Jack had a crop. Neither Diane or Tiny got more than a couple of bites. Of course, the question remains ‘why’. The pattern is roughly three good days and three relatively poor ones. I hope that tomorrow Jack proves me wrong.
Just as I hope Jack surprises me tomorrow, an article on Ospreys surprised me today. It wasn’t actually the article – the world needs more stories about these magnificent birds. Rather, it was the glossy weekly magazine that is known more for politics and its reviews of art, restaurants, books, and the theatre-The New Yorker. ‘The Joy of Watching the Ospreys Return.’ is by Alexander Aciman. Aciman shares his love of one particular Osprey nest that he has watched for many, many years. The article describes the incredible abilities of the Osprey including the fact that the mated pair leave separately, winter in different locations yet return to ‘their’ nest in the spring. The author is amazed by the ability of these fish eating birds to travel from the United States to Mexico, Central or South America and return to a spot no bigger than a sofa cushion, annually. There was sadness at the nest in 2020 – all three chicks died. Park rangers determined that the cause was parasites living in the nest and to avoid the same catastrophic event again, they tore down the old nest after the couple had migrated. Aciman wonders if the mated pair will return after such sadness. To date, the female has arrived and is rebuilding the nest.
In my post were two books. Population Ecology of Raptors by Ian Newton is ex-library. Published in 1979, the book covers dispersion, breeding density and everything else to do with breeding, mortality rates at the time and causes, as well as conservation ecology. It came highly recommended but with a word of caution – we have learned much because of streaming cams, tagging, and satellite transmitters and facts about raptors have changed since 1979. You might want to have a peek. Maybe your library still has a copy or can order it for you.
The second book is Becoming Wild. How Animal Cultures Raise Families, Create Beauty, and Achieve Peace by Carl Safina. As one of the reviewers states, ‘Safina has the potential to change our relationship with the natural world.’ I like Safina for his directness. The book examines the lives of three non-human species: Sperm Whales, Scarlet Macaws, and Chimpanzees.
Safina tells us how they live, how they teach one another, and how they learn. And then he hits his readers with the question: ‘Will we let them continue to exist or will we finalize their annihilation?’ I am looking forward to writing a full review of this book for you when I have finished reading it and digested its contents. My speed reading of the Introduction and part of chapter 1 tells me this book is going to be more than interesting.
Just checking in on some of the Osprey nests in the United Kingdom today. They sure were having nasty weather for April the past couple of days with snow and gale force winds.
Laddie (LM12) and Blue NC0 have had to deal with the high winds tearing up their nest and then snow.
There was wet snow over at the Clywedog Nest in Wales. This is Dylan bringing a gift of a pinecone for Seren (Blue F5).
The Loch Arkaig Osprey Nest has been experiencing blizzard like conditions. Everyone is hoping that Louis and Aila will arrive anytime but the bad weather might have slowed them down. Even so, Osprey are perfectly capable of being covered in snow and incubating their eggs with no dire results.
Over at the Rutland Mantou Bay nest, Blue 33 (11) has been bringing in more nesting materials for Maya who is incubating the couples three eggs. Today, she has also had to defend her nest against another intruder. Maya is formidable and I wouldn’t want to land on her nest by mistake!
Blue 33 (11) brings in nesting materials.
I love how Blue 33 (11) loves to spend time with Maya on the nest cuddled together. He is a great catch! Maya, you are sooooooo lucky!
Thank you for joining me today and for sharing your lives with these wonderful birds. More news tomorrow on any more arrivals of UK Osprey and a look at satellite tracking and its benefits. Take care!
Thank you to the following streaming cams where I obtained my screen shots: Rutland Mantou Bay Ospreys, Woodland Trust and Peoples Play Lottery, Scottish Wildlife Trust, Carnyx Wild Wales YouTube channel, and UC Berkeley Peregrine Falcon Cam.
The two little ones on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources nest are quite a lively pair. First time, four year old Harry has learned to feed and Nancy has relaxed. Harry is good on the nest and food is there. The little ones are rather spunky to say the least!
Bonnie went out hunting and brought a small live garter snake back to the nest. Lily got there first and ate the entire snake – live – all by herself – as Tiger and Bonnie looked on in amazement.
Look closely at how thick Tiger’s legs are. Look down at its talons. These two owlets are really growing! Both of them are flapping their wings and wandering around the nest. Tiger is very sturdy on those sturdy limbs! Both of them are endless pits in terms of wanting food.
Li’l and Big at the Duke Farm nest are growing and growing. There have been tandem feedings and attempts at self-feeding! Doing good. Li’l can hold its own against its big sib.
It really does help to be the only eaglet in the nest with a parental territory that is full of prey. Kisatchie is always being fed and cared for by its mom, Anna. Louis continues to be an expert fisherman and Kisatchie always has a full crop. I don’t believe this eaglet would understand what hunger actually was. And you know what? That is just fine. His feathers will go strong. Eaglets that have had periods – several of hunger – have thinner spots in their feathers.
In constrast, the Redding triplets are always hungry it seems. Two of them are trying to climb out of the nest cup so that they can have some of that juicy fish. It keeps mom and dad very busy!
I will leave you with an image of my heroine, Big Red, the Red Tail Hawk incubating three eggs on a light stand on the Cornell Campus. Big Red always gets my vote for ‘Mom of the Year’. She is quite amazing! Year after year she gets soaked, gets encrusted in snow and ice, and still she raises the strongest happiest eyasses. She is much loved.
This was a short update on how some of the nests are doing. Thank you for joining me today. Stay safe everyone!
Thank you to the following streaming cams where I got my screen images: Cornell Bird Lab, the Kisatchie National Forest, , the Pittsburgh Hays Eagle Cam, Friends of Redding Eagles, Farmer Derek, MN DNR Eagle Cam, and Duke Farms.
UPDATE ON THE ACHIEVA OSPREY NEST IN ST PETERSBURG. Tiny Tot was fed this morning at 9:27 after the other two. He had a small crop. It was the first time he ate in 3 full days. Tiny Tot later later had some seizures. It is unclear what damage the lack of food did to his internal organs. A huge catfish came in at 4:22. The two bigger ones ate for a couple of hours. Tiny attempted to get food and was pecked by 2. The dad, Jack, came and took the extra fish away. It is quite sad to see anything suffer so much, begging for food – literally starving to death. It is nothing short of a slow horrible death. The question is why? Is there a lack of fish? Does the father have two families? Other Osprey nests raise three healthy osplets to fledge – even small ones. A good example is Loch Arkaig in 2020.