Tuesday in Bird World

The snow that began last night is continuing to come down in the garden. It is gusty and blowing and the birds are having a difficult time finding a place to get out of the wind. I would love for someone to contradict me but, I do not recall this much snow in 15 years. Thankfully, there is no reason to get out, not even for birdseed. We have at least another two weeks on hand! There are times that I think the garden visitors eat better than their caregivers! It is the running family joke.

You might have felt that I am a little ‘shy’ of that WRDC nest of Ron and Rita’s. This is a new Bald Eagle couple to me. It is really difficult to see if R2 is getting much food. Clearly R1 is a bit of a brute. R3 would not have had a chance. The adults often stand in front of the camera so the view is restricted or, else, I can only see R1 bonking the little one. There is lots of food. Ron is a good provider.

I want to imagine that I am terribly wrong and that the adults are feeding R1 until it passes out in a food coma and then are making sure that R2 is full to the brim. If you have seen this please let me know! I would be delighted.

Some good news. There is no sign of Daisy the Duck on the White-Bellied Sea Eagle Nest in the Sydney Olympic Forest. Continue to send your positive energy to our little duck so she finds a safe place to hatch some eggs!

The bad news – unless you are a GHOW fan – is that Mrs Hootie laid her first egg on the Savannah Osprey nest of Scarlett and Rhett. Where will this longstanding Osprey couple lay their eggs?

The snow is melting in Ithaca, the home of Big Red and Arthur.

The Clark Fork River is open in places near Missoula, Montana. It is hard to imagine but in 9 weeks Big Red should be laying eggs and in 10 weeks we will be looking for Iris, the oldest Osprey in the world, to return to her nest at Hell Gate Canyon.

There is some snow in Latvia and like here in Canada, I expect that they will see more. Milda’s nest is waiting for her albeit there have been intruders.

The eaglet at the KNF nest was stretching its little wings this morning. It is 6 days old and is energetic, curious, healthy, and happy. What more could you want?!

Anna and Louis are quickly becoming one of my most favoured Bald Eagle couples!

Pa Berry fed B15 til it passed out in a food coma. I had missed seeing him brooding or feeding so this really put a smile on my face. B15 is a little character. Full of life! So happy.

Pa Berry was really aerating the nest this morning!

R15 is so cute. I wonder if R15 will get attached to ‘eggie’ like Legacy did last year?

The two eaglets of Harriet and Mitch are doing fine at the Hilton Head Island Bald Eagle nest. Have a close look. That second layer of dark grey down is covering them and there are feathers peeking through. Soon they will look like E19 and E20.

E20 looks on as E19 is eating at the SWFlorida Bald Eagle Nest. It will wait til E19 is finished and then will go and have food.

Ferris Akel posted a very short video of the Canada Geese and the Snow Geese from last Sunday’s tour. I had not seen so many since our migration in September-October here in Winnipeg.

Ervie is on the nest and will, no doubt, be ramping up the volume screaming for a fish once the dawn breaks at Port Lincoln. Oh, Ervie. Are you going to be another Izzi? We do adore you and we wouldn’t mind! On the other hand, you did get the sat-pak! Will the conclusion be that at least one male Eastern Osprey likes to stay at the natal nest? Oh, Ervie, you do put a smile on our faces.

Thank you for joining me today. It is so nice to have you with me. Take care! See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: WRDC, KNF, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Hilton Head Island Trust, SWFlorida and D Pritchett, Berry College, Cornell Bird Cam and Montana Osprey Project, Cornell Bird Cam and RTH, Cornell Bird Lab and Savannah Ospreys, Latvian Fund for Nature, and Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park.

Monday in Bird World, late edition

It feels like the lull after the storm which is possibly a good thing for everyone who was in the path of the snow and ice in the US yesterday, including our beloved birds and animals. That said, there are still parts of the US and Canada that continue to be having weather from that system.

The rain stopped in Ithaca, home of Big Red and Arthur, and it started snowing again.

It has stopped snowing at the nest of the Pittsburgh-Hayes couple.

In the wake of the storm, the female at Duke Farms laid her first egg about an hour and a half ago. No snow! Congratulations Duke Farms.

Over in Dale Hollow there is snow and the Bald Eagle couple also have their first egg of the 2022 season. Gos, I live in Canada but it looks cold there to me – and a little odd. Snow on the nest and green grass. Oh, Canadians living on the Prairies love to see the green grass come up in the spring.

Here is the announcement:

Did you ever watch the Bald Canyon Eagles? If so, you might be interested to know that the US Navy, the entity that owns and operates San Clemente Island, gave Dr Sharpe permission to install a new camera.

Here is the link to this nest with its new camera. There is no sound as per the US Navy regulations.

B15 is doing really well at the Berry College Bald Eagle Nest in Mt Berry, Georgia. The nest seems to have dried out and Missy’s feathers are all nice and fluffy. This little one is moving about nicely and appears to be quite strong – doing well for one less than a week old! B15 had a nice little crop after its late afternoon feed.

The aggression by R1 towards R2 at the WRDC Nest in Miami-Dade County continues. R2 had one meal by 16:16. Of course, this little one can still survive but it is very intimidated by R1 and will not raise itself to eat while R1 is eating.

E19 was being particularly aggressive today, too. In fact, horrible isn’t even the right word to describe the behaviour towards E20. This is despite some nice fish deliveries at the SWFlorida Nest. How does bad weather impact avian behaviour? These two eaglets were, just a few days ago, cited as being the most civil that Harriet and M15 ever had on the nest. The ‘trigger’ had to be the weather. I cannot account for anything else.

In the end, both eaglets were fed but it is to E20’s credit that it held out and finally had to do the old ‘snatch and grab’.

E20 kept its head down til E19 was full.

E19 was about to pop its crop and was still hammering its younger sibling. And then…E20 cleverly waited a second and got up to Mum. Harriet fed E20 til it was full.

I do not believe there is any reason to be concerned. There has never been a siblicide on this nest and I don’t believe it will happen this year either. These two will be fine. M15 and Harriet are known to tandem feed if required. They are very experienced parents ——- and they care!

Awww. So sweet. Finally being able to enjoy some dinner.

And then E19 full to the top of its head decides that E20 has had too many bites – well before there is any crop – and starts bonking it again. Sad.

To the credit of E20, it was so hungry that it began stealing bites. Bravo!

Sometimes you simply want to find an Eagle nest where there is absolutely no conflict. That nest for me is the KNF Bald Eagle Nest in Louisiana.

At the nest of Anna and Louis, the baby is so full from the last feeding that it is not yet interested in the 10 fish that are on the nest behind it. Yes, 10. Just look at it sit up tall and straight. This baby is 5 days old and curious.

Aww. Baby decided it had better get around to the other side near the pantry if it wanted a late snack.

Anna was very hungry but a couple of little cheeps and she was feeding the little one. It is nice and full and so is Mum.

If you want a peaceful, serene Bald Eagle nest to watch with a 5 day old eaglet, I highly recommend the KNF nest with its chat mods, Tonya from NO and the two rangers, Cody and Steve.

Here is the link to the KNF nest:

Ervie had a late delivery of a fish last night. He was sleeping on part of it this morning. Ervie is flying on and off the nest and everything seems perfectly fine at the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge.

The sun is setting on Gabby at the NEFlorida Bald Eagle nest where we are approaching pip watch on the 21st.

The sun has already set on my garden and the birds have all left. We are expecting more snow tonight! I will check on the Kakapo Recovery tonight and report in the morning. There is a rumour going around that Nora, who laid her first egg in 1981, mated for 83 minutes with one of the males last night. She is really hoping for eggs this year. Fingers crossed.

Thank you so much for joining me. Take care, stay safe. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: WRDC, SWFlorida and D Pritchett, KNF, Duke Farms, Berry College, Cornell Bird Lab, Pittsburg-Hays and Pix Cams, Bald Canyon, NEFlorida and the AEF, and Bald Eagles Live FB Page.

Sunday in Bird World

Hi Everyone!

It is another cold day on the Canadian Prairies. The European Starlings were sitting on the tips of the Lilac branches on a bright sunny morning. It is -30. Notice how blue the sky is on a cold, cold day.

The Starlings puff up all their feathers. They seem more interested in sunning themselves than eating today.

Little Red was leaping from the fence to the feeders and back again, collecting nuts as quick as he could. It looks like Dyson & Co have decided to hibernate during this week or two of extreme weather. I do not blame them!

M15 found a possum that had been killed on the road and brought it to the nest in Fort Myers. That is one of the ways that Eagles get killed – removing carrion from the roads and taking it to the nest OR sitting on the road and eating the prey item. Our wildlife rehabbers suggest carrying a shovel in your car and stopping and removing dead animals from the road and placing them way back in the ditch. It will certainly help all the raptors.

In a late Sunday afternoon feeding, E20 got smart for a bit and stood behind E19 when Harriet got up to feed them.

If you are wondering which one is which, it is easy to identify them. Currently, E19 has a bit of PS and food on its back and it is slightly bigger. E19 is in front. E20 is a fluffy clean white ball. A sweetie.

So far their eyes are looking great. No sign of any infection.

The other day when E20 climbed out of the nest cup for a feeding, it was too close to Harriet’s beak making it difficult for her to feed it. By standing behind E19, E20 is at the right place for food and away from E19’s beak. So the first bites go to E20.

The next bite goes to E19. Harriet is such a good mother. There should never been any feelings of food insecurity on this nest.

Adorable.

I was a bit shocked to see an individual on the FB group of the SWFlorida Eaglets write expecting E19 to kill E20. Siblicide in Bald Eagles is very rare. I include below some information from a study. You will see that storms cause more deaths. There has never been a death due to siblicide on this nest in SWFlorida. Everyone can rest easy.

From the researcher in Maine:

“I studied 62 webcam Bald Eagle nests with direct observations of the nest bowl recorded over a period of up to 8 years. The total number of nest seasons was 240. Of that number, there were 91 with just one hatch or none, 105 nestings with 2 hatches, 42 with 3 hatches and 2 with 4 hatches. (These are all direct observations of egg-laying, hatch, eaglet development and fledge.)

Of the 105 nestings with 2 hatches, both eaglets successfully fledged 77 times (73%), 1 eaglet fledged and 1 died 22 times (21%), and both died 6 times (6%). Of the 34 who died, the cause of death was parent neglect (6), killed by intruder (4), storm (4), failed in the first day or two (3), accident (5), illness (1), unknown (7), possible siblicide (1), and known siblicide (3). Based on these figures (including the possible siblicide), the incidence of siblicide on a nest with 2 eaglets is 3.8%.

Of the 42 nestings with 3 hatches, all 3 eaglets fledged 35 times (83%), 2 fledged and 1 died 3 times (7%), 1 fledged and 2 died 2 times (5%), and all three died 2 times (5%). Of the 13 who died, the cause of death was storm (eight), poison (2), accident (1), unknown (1), and siblicide (1). Based on these figures, the incidence of siblicide on a nest with 3 siblings is 2%.

Of the 2 nestings with 4 hatches, all 4 eaglets successfully fledged on one, and 2 on the other. The cause of death of the 2 who died was storm (1), died in the first day or so (1).

The known incidence of siblicide on these 62 random nests of 396 hatched eaglets was 4 eaglets, 3 of whom were from the same nest in Maine, and all were attributed to lack of food and/or parent neglect. That’s 1%. It would be less than 0.3% if I discounted that one nest in Maine.”

That should put everyone’s mind to rest when they are watching the Bald Eagle nests.

And as I close, E20 is eating again and E19 is looking at something else. It was a good feeding!

Lady and Dad, the White-Bellied Australian Sea Eagles, did not return to their nest in the Sydney Olympic Park after having been harassed by both the Currawong and the BooBook Owls the previous night.

It has been confirmed that there are boxes for ducks at the Duck Pond but our Daisy seems to prefer nests to them. Let us all hope she changes her mind.

Samson is giving Gabby a break at the Northeast Florida Bald Eagle Cam near Jacksonville. He is incubating NE26 and 27. (Legacy was NE24 and the unviable egg was considered NE25). We will be on hatch watch in about 12 days. How wonderful.

It is an interesting morning at the Port Lincoln Osprey Nest. Ervie is the one who has been on the nest and who is prey calling – very loudly.

Falky has landed on the nearby ropes and is hoping for a chance at the breakfast fish this morning, too. I wonder how much fishing Ervie is actually doing??? He has been sitting on that nest a long time prey crying instead of fishing….

The other Bald Eagle nest that currently has two little eaglets is Hilton Head. The eaglets are doing fine. I will include the link to the camera since they are not on YouTube. They are adorable and I urge you to stop in and have a look. There is no rewind function, however!

The link to the camera is here:

https://hdontap.com/index.php/video/stream/hilton-head-land-trust-eagles

Someone asked me what nest I am looking forward to the most in 2022. That is a real hard one! In the United States, it would have to be Big Red and Arthur, the Red-tail Hawks at Cornell University. Here are K1 and K2 from last spring’s nest. K3 will hatch the day after. They are just super parents. Big Red will be laying her eggs in March.

Unlike Bald Eagles who hatch with grey soft natal down, Red-tail Hawks have the most beautiful soft white down and white spikey hair on the top of their heads! They melt my heart instantly.

5 May 2021. K1 and K2.

I love Peregrine Falcons so Annie and Grinnell will be at the top of my list and as for Osprey Nests in the US, you can’t get better than Richmond and Rosie out in California. I try to keep track of several Osprey nests in the UK, the Black Stork nests in Latvia and Estonia, and for this year, the Osprey nests in Finland. Then there is the Black Kite Nest in a Taipei Cemetery. That should keep me out of trouble!

Thank you so much for joining me today. It is wonderful to have you here. Take care. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: SWFlorida Bald Eagle Cam and D Pritchett, NWFlorida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Hilton Head Eagle Cam, Cornell Bird Lab, and Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park.

Oh, for the love of Ervie

It is no secret that my long-term research project on third hatch Ospreys that survive can cause a whole lot of heart ache. The opposite side of that is the sheer joy in watching these ‘thirds’ come into their own. Some suffer much more than others. In 2021, one of the worst was Tiny Tot Tumbles on the Achieva Osprey nest in Florida.

There is Tiny Tot Tumbles beside sibling 1. I often called her ‘Big Nasty Sister’. She is the reason that many people do not like to watch the Osprey nests. That said, sibling 1 stopped a lot of the beating on Tiny Tot because sibling 2 started. That nestling would purposefully eat and eat and eat so that Tiny Tot had no food.

Beaten and starved. It was hard for anyone to imagine Tiny Tot Tumbles surviving. There she is all submissive, literally starving, while the others eat.

What a beautiful bird Tiny Tot Tumbles became.

Elegant. Tiny Tot Tumbles is one of the most striking juvenile ospreys I have ever seen. Before she left the nest, her plumage was super espresso with only the thinest of white scallop revealing she was not an adult. She was smart. She remained on the nest honing her flying skills, getting stronger, learning how to fight off intruders. It is a shame she is not banded but she has a very distinctive pattern on her crown.

At Foulshaw Moss in Cumbria, no one expected Tiny Little Bob to survive more than a couple of days. The weather was miserable and the two older siblings were 4x her size.

The size difference increased. That is how she got the name ‘Tiny Little Bob’ because she was just so small.

I love this image. Tiny Little Bob really wants some of the flounder that Mum, Blue 35 has. She has watched and waited til the older siblings are full. Then she will make her move. She exhibits all of the hallmarks of a third hatch survivor – patience, fortitude, and ‘focused watching’. They can read the nest.

I wish I had this video recorder earlier so that I could have captures Tiny Tot Tumbles ousting the intruders from the nest! Or more of Tiny Little Bob. I did get it in time to show you Blue 463 in the nest. It is the third week in August. All three of the Foulshaw Moss chicks have fledged. White YW is an incredible provider and he will stay until Tiny Little Bob migrates before he leaves. She will be the last one to leave. Smart girl. She really fattened up for that migratory trip. I only hope that she survived. Few British Ospreys have been spotted in The Gambia and Senegal. There are lots without bands along the coast of West Africa but not the ringed British. Where are they?

Tiny Little Bob is banded as Blue 463. She is the bird on the back of the nest on the right. She is food calling. I want you simply to notice how big she is. Tiny Little Bob became the dominant bird on the Foulshaw Moss nest for 2021. She could fight for the fish with the best of them. Most of the time she used her patience and ‘snake eye’ to get the siblings off their lunch!

At Port Lincoln, Bazza aka Big Bob, tried several times to dominate but, Ervie aka Little Bob wasn’t having it. If you have been following me most of the time you will know that when the three males were banded, Little Bob got the sat-pak because he was the biggest of the three. Unlike Tiny Tot Tumbles who missed 12 full days of meals in the first five weeks of her life, Tiny Little Bob made sure he was right up front by Mum’s beak. I don’t think he ever missed a meal and he would certainly stay til he was full. On the morning of the banding, Little Bob had landed the breakfast fish. That probably helped a lot with that weight in!

There is Little Bob in front with his beak wide open. Just look at those little wings. Oh, my goodness is there anything cuter than a recently hatched osplet?

The thing about the third hatch survivors is that they have lived out of sheer willpower and cleverness. I can almost hear Ervie say, ‘I am not taking anything from you, Bazza!’ They become kinda’ street wise. They watch, assess, and attack. Does anyone remember Tiny Little Bob staring down both of her big siblings? They were not going to get anything by her. You might also remember that Tiny Tot Tumbles took on any intruder protecting the nest. She was fierce. That is how they survive — and I believe that they are actually better able to cope out in the world of Ospreys far away from the nest than their siblings.

Ervie sure showed us what he is made of today.

Bazza had the fish and had been eating. Ervie really likes the back portion and the tail. So he is watching Bazza. I could have made this into a video but what I want you to do is focus on the ‘look’ on Ervie’s face and his actions.

Ervie is the bird on the right. Bazza is in the middle with the fish tail. Falky is on the left and is not interested.

Look at Ervie’s eyes and his open beak as he lands on the nest. He is telling Bazza he wants that fish tail now. Ervie means business.

Ervie is twisting his body. He is not looking at Bazza’s face. He is looking at the fish tail.

Ervie moves up and over pushing Bazza’s head. Ervie raises his wings.

Ervie is totally in front of Bazza. Notice that Bazza is not looking at the fish.

Ervie turns his head around. You can draw a line from his eye and beak to the fish. Ervie is completely focused.

He goes for it.

Ervie dives down to get the fish tail.

He has it. He turns his body and raises his wings. Bazza is being pushed out of the way so Ervie can turn.

He’s got it. Wow. Just look at the impressive wings of Ervie.

Ervie moves over to the other edge of the nest where he finishes the fish tail. The entire take over bid took 19 seconds.

Bazza does not seemed phased and Falky probably wishes he were somewhere else!

These three have just been a joy to watch. I wish each of them had been given a sat-pak so that we could watch their lives unfold. I hope that the hydro poles in South Australia have their protective covers placed on them just as quickly as it can happen. The loss of Solly was a tragedy in terms of understanding the dispersal and long term survival of these Eastern Osprey.

I hope that I have not bored you too much with these third hatches. Each is really a miracle and for me, remembering them helps honour the pain and suffering that they went through to live.

Thank you for joining me. Take care everyone. See you soon.,

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots or my video clips: Achieva Credit Union, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, and Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest.

Fall to winter

The beautiful weather that we had on the Canadian Prairies yesterday was due to dramatically change over night.

Footpath linking Portage Avenue with Assiniboine Park over the Assiniboine River

Our weather will go from nice blue skies and unseasonably warm temperatures to snow and then snow mixed with rain. It is currently 0 degrees C and will warm up to a balmy 2 degrees C in the morning when the precipitation begins. My daughter messaged me to tell me there were still some Canada Geese and ducks in the Assiniboine River. It seemed like a good time to get out and go for one last nice walk.

The little Red Squirrel at Assiniboine Park knows that the warmth is not going to last. It was busy pulling off the seeds from a Maple tree and cramming them into holes and in the grooves in the bark of a tree. He was so busy he did not even notice the people standing and watching him.

The geese were looking for any blade of grass to eat they could find.

Some were in the duck pond flapping their wings trying to stir up the plants from the bottom of the pond.

Others were simply enjoying a beautiful afternoon in the warm sunshine.

It gets dark around 17:00 and as I was leaving some of the geese were flying away. Are they heading south for the winter?

I really hope that the geese and ducks got out of the City last night like the ones above taking flight. As promised, we have snow. Mr Blue Jay has come to visit and the sparrows are trying to find seed under the snow.

There are many feeders filled with sunflower chips, suet, black oil sunflower seeds, and then that wonderful ‘trail’ mix which looks better than what I make.

The sparrows in the snow on the deck know there are goodies underneath. Why they are not back at the feeders I cannot tell you. There is room for everyone there.

What a handsome little House Sparrow this fellow is. You can always tell them by their grey caps!

So how do birds cope with winter? This article was published by Daisy Yuhas in 2013 but it is still accurate now. Have a read – it is really interesting:

“Each autumn as many birds begin epic journeys to warmer climates, there are always some species that stay put for the winter. These winter birds have a better chance of maintaining their territory year-round, and they avoid the hazards of migration. But in exchange they have to endure the cold.Like us, birds are warm blooded, which means their bodies maintain a constant temperature, often around 106 degrees Fahrenheit. To make enough heat, and maintain it, they’ve evolved many different strategies–some similar to our own.Sparrows, for example, seek out shelter in dense foliage or cavities to avoid the elements. They also huddle, bunching together to share warmth, and try to minimize their total surface area by tucking in their head and feet and sticking up their feathers. Cardinals, impossible to miss against the snow, and other smaller birds puff up into the shape of a little round beach ball to minimize heat loss.”Big birds, like geese and grouse, do what we do,” says physiologist David Swanson at the University of South Dakota. “They put on insulation.” Their insulation often involves growing an extra set of insulating downy feathers.Birds can also put on fat as both an insulator and energy source: More than 10 percent of winter body weight may be fat in certain species, including chickadees and finches. As a result, some birds spend the vast majority of their daylight hours seeking fatty food sources, making feeder food even more precious for surviving a frosty night.When asked which birds are toughest winter survivors, Swanson points to little ones like chickadees. These small creatures can’t put on too much bulk for aerodynamic reasons. Instead, explains Swanson, they are experts in shivering. This isn’t the familiar tremble that mammals use to generate heat. Birds shiver by activating opposing muscle groups, creating muscle contractions without all of the jiggling typical when humans shiver. This form of shaking is better at retaining the bird’s heat.Another adaptation shared by many species is the ability to keep warm blood circulating near vital organs while allowing extremities to cool down. Take gulls. They can stand on ice with feet at near-freezing temperatures while keeping their body’s core nice and toasty.Keeping warm when the sun is up is one thing, but few winter challenges are more daunting than nightfall, when temperatures drop and birds must rely on every adaptation they have to survive their sleep. Some birds save energy by allowing their internal thermostat to drop. Hummingbirds are a famous example of this, undergoing torpor nightly as their body temperature drops close to outside temperatures. But torpor is not too common in winter birds, because the morning warm up would take too much extra energy. Instead, black-capped chickadees and other species undergo a more moderate version of this, reducing their body temperature as much as 22 degrees Fahrenheit from their daytime level in a process called regulated hypothermia.One simple way to help birds when the weather outside is frightful is to hang feeders. To attract a diversity of birds, select different feeder designs and a variety of foods. A tube feeder filled with black oil sunflower or mixed seeds, for example, will attract chickadees and finches. Woodpeckers devour suet feeders. And a safflower or sunflower-filled hopper feeder entices the usual visitors plus larger birds like cardinals and red-winged blackbirds. The birds benefit from the backyard buffet, and you’ll have a front-row seat to numerous species flocking to your plants and feeders.” Some raptor species, lower their body temperatures. More on that another day as we shift from fall to winter.

It is not clear how many birds are on the ledge at 367 Collins Street. The Mum was there overnight with one – the one with some floof still on its back and wings in the scrape box below. There were two. Where is the other one? at the other end? flown off? difficult to tell. The one on the scrape box has just vocalized and headed down the gutter. I suspect it could be breakfast.

It is almost flying along the gutter now.

Fledging will be happening soon down in Port Lincoln and if you want to see how a hungry falcon acts just go over to the scrape in Orange. Yurruga is a week younger than the eyases in Melbourne. It is really foggy in Orange this morning so breakfast could be delayed. That link is:

Look for a lot of wing exercises and hovering from the trio at Port Lincoln. Ervie was doing a fabulous job yesterday.

Oh, I am really going to miss these lads when they fly to find their own way. Last year it was this Osprey nest that almost put me off my interest in third hatch ospreys. Siblicide is horrific. And it is this same nest (along with Achieva and Foulshaw Moss) that gives me hope that things can turn around for the good for the chicks. It has been incredible this season.

It is time for some hot tea. Thank you so much for joining me. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac and Port Lincoln Osprey Project.

Is it Tiny Tot Tumbles?

There is never 100% certainty in identifying a bird four months or a year or two after it has flown off the nest unless there are Darvic rings and bands. For ospreys, there are facial features – the head – that remain the same for their entire life once they have reached the age of fledging. I have been told, by Osprey experts that I respect, that an osplet born in the spring of 2021 could no longer have the white curved feathers on its wing tips. I am trusting that information to be true.

As many of you know, I have a very special interest in Osprey third hatches. I am particularly focused on these little ones that survive but who have been denied food by their siblings and who might have died due to siblicide. I will be collecting data from nests for the next decade to see if there are any patterns on these particular survivors. Do they do better in the long haul than their siblings? It is extremely difficult if they have not been ringed. The best way to study their survival is both a Darvic ring and a sat-pak with a battery that would last for four years, like the one on Solly who hatched in 2021 at the Port Lincoln nest.

Over the past month or so, a number of Ospreys have landed on the Achieva Osprey Nest in St Petersburg, Florida. Several remind me of the intruder that Tiny Tot Tumbles battled last summer. Have Jack and Diane visited? Maybe. I admit to being so focused on Tiny Tot Tumbles that I ignored the other two siblings and parents in terms of identification markers.

On 30 October an osprey landed on the Achieva nest. I stared at that ‘face and head’ for two days. Could it be?

Staring at me every time I open the fridge or close it is a large magnet of Tiny Tot Tumbles. The screen capture was on 20 June, two weeks before she left the nest for good. Tears began to flow.

There are thousands of images of Tiny Tot in my external hard drives. From the moment she hatched, to the little one running around the rim of the nest trying to get some food. There were days that I counted each bite of food that she got. Notebooks full. That fridge magnet image was taken on a day when Tiny Tot was at her loveliest. She would sit on the perch for hours – she was elegant! And she was a formidable opponent. Any intruder was ousted from the nest. She often battled them alongside Jack, her dad.

A slider to move back and forth to compare.

I am convinced that the amazing osprey that landed on the Achieva nest in St Petersburg at 12:57 on 30 October is, in fact, Tiny Tot Tumbles. She has been away and survived for four months, grown and matured. The white plumage forming the V is very thin on both of those images.

There have been visitors that have, of course, a similar V but the amount of white plumage varies with each of them. The bird below has visited the nest often but it is not Tiny Tot.

This was Tiny Tot Tumbles on 3 July. Look at the white lines from the beak forming a ‘V’. They are thinner on Tiny Tot than on the bird above.

Here is Tiny Tot Tumbles on 27 June mantling.

This is an image of Tiny Tot Tumbles on 26 June. I had enlarged it from a screen capture so that everyone would note the very specific head – the thin white lines, the heart shape of the white. Sadly, the resolution is not good.

These following two images were posted on 20 and 21 June, respectively. The top one is the one on 20 June that I used for my fridge magnet. The next one is the following day, Tiny Tot on the perch.

She is so elegant. She has grown and filled in since she flew off the nest. There she is on the perch looking like she is applying to be on the runway for the most beautiful Osprey of 2021!

Here she is as a wee babe. It was easy to imagine with the difference in age and size that Big Bob might cause problems. In the end, both Big and Middle Bob, sibling 1 and 2, prevented Tiny Tot from eating for a total of 12 full 24 hour periods during the first six weeks of her life.

There is Tiny Tot submissive and hungry over to the right. Big Bob has been unmerciful in its attacks on her on this day.

What changed on the nest was Diane going out and fishing. She began to bring back big catfish and there was always enough to feed Tiny Tot. By 7 April, Tiny Tot has grown and is getting big enough that the older siblings might try to thwart her from eating but she is unstoppable. If she did not get enough to eat, Tiny Tot would root around in the nest. She always found scraps and was known for even cleaning off fish flakes from discarded bones. It is difficult in the ‘real world’ and it takes this kind of tenacity to survive.

Tiny Tot has a nice big crop on 9 April! Just look at her there in the middle of the image below.

This is 10 May. Tiny Tot is gorgeous. She is beginning to get that characteristic head that we all recognized. Her juvenile feathers are coming in and she has survived! In the end, Sibling 1 fledged and returned to the nest once, the following day. Sibling 2 fledged returning for a bit for food. Then Tiny Tot was all alone. Jack brought in fish for her and she stayed – as she should – honing her flying skills and getting ‘street smart’ protecting the nest. On 5 July, precisely four months after she hatched, she flew off the nest. We never thought we would see her again.

I am grateful that Tiny Tot has paid a visit to the nest to show us all that she is thriving. She has put on weight from the elegant pose on the perch post but that striking head remains the same.

I hope that Tiny Tot visits the nest over and over again. She was gallant in her protection of it for Jack, her dad, and with him on occasion. And, for the record, she could be a he. There were never DNA tests taken or any banding. Just keep your eye out for this beautiful osprey. Could we be lucky enough to see s/he raise osplets on this very nest in the future?

Take care everyone! See you soon.

Thank you to the Achieva Credit Union for its streaming cam in St Petersburg where these screen shots were taken.

Trouble at Port Lincoln?

Yesterday there were not as many fish deliveries as there had been on the days when the wind was blowing at 34 kph. It was a bit concerning but the chicks seemed to be fine.

The PLO camera was down for a long time – frozen. The temperatures are cool but the winds are only around 11 kph. It is now after 8:45 am and no fish delivery yet. The chicks are fighting and hungry.

Mom has called and has tried to sit on them. This is a tragic turn of events if a large fish doesn’t come on this nest soon. They need the food – constantly. This is day 9 and 10 for these chicks. I continue to remind myself when watching the events this past hour that Tapps left us on day 18.

Why is this happening? That is my big question. The Dad has been good. Things let up a bit yesterday in terms of the deliveries but — please send your good wishes to this nest. Things can change in a second and we want the civil state and full chicks back.

One of the key persons with the nest said, “​In this phase, you will notice feedings further apart, but they will stuff those crops which now can handle a bit more. A bit slower growth than some are use to, different continent.” I hope she is right!

Thank you to the PLO for their streaming cam where I took this image.

Late Saturday in Bird World

I want to thank the person who wrote and thanked me for keeping everyone abreast of what is happening with the Port Lincoln Osplets. It is truly my pleasure. The situation of siblicide last year with Tapps really touched our or tore out our hearts. People can say that nature is not like Disneyland – and it surely isn’t – but, it is still hard. How many times did we want to scoop up little Tapps and feed him? I almost quit watching Ospreys entirely because of Tapps. I do understand – completely.

I began to wonder about these third hatches. The Osprey nests had such a hard time last year that there were few with three hatches that survived. The first was Tiny Tot at Achieva. Aka Tumbles. What an amazing bird. I will not bore you with all of the intricate details but, in the first two six weeks of her life, Tiny Tot had 12 days – 12 whole days – without food. At least twice, she went for 72 hours. That bird wanted to live. She was clever! And, yes, she got angry and lashed out at the older ones twice. I believe it was the last instance when Diane, the female, took notice. She began bringing in food to the nest. Those big catfish saved Tiny Tot’s life. And then Tiny Little at Foulshaw Moss. Neither of the Tinys should have survived but they did and were stronger birds for it. My interest in third hatches was cemented with the two Tinys. I want to see if their survival rate is higher than the big siblings. The problem is that so few of them are ringed or have satellite trackers. Someone in France just photographed Blue 494 from the Dyfi Nest. Maybe they will see Blue 463, Tiny Little, too. Oh, I hope so.

What I can tell you is that the PLO are doing fine. Little Bob has a good appetite. He can’t eat as many bites as Big Bob but at the most recent feeding, Little Bob ate enough to go into food coma! Mom seems particularly focused on making sure that each gets bites. She is doing really well this year and so is Dad with bringing in the fish. It is 11 degrees C in Port Lincoln and the winds are still blowing strong at 24 kmh. That is 14.91 miles an hour. It might not sound like a lot but it can certainly disrupt fishing.

Here is a close up. Little Bob is the one that is being fed. You can see that he already has the makings of a very good crop.

This is Little Bob getting some nice bites. The one that looks asleep is actually Big Bob. She has eaten and is taking a ‘breather’. Meanwhile Little and Middle Bob are enjoying the morning breakfast.

There is Big Bob back up at the table! Doesn’t take long. She can eat bigger pieces and more of them now. But there is no problem with Little or Middle Bobs eating. Everyone is doing well.

Every once in awhile their eyes lock on one another and my body goes rigid but, so far, nothing. Mom goes around making sure everyone has bites. It is that kind of security that keeps things tranquil.*

These are really well behaved youngsters. Food is plentiful and they line up with mouths open letting out little peeps. Middle Bob is getting some bites now while Little and Big wait their turns.

As I said, Little Bob has a very good appetite and he won’t leave the table until he falls over in food coma or mom calls it quits. Remember, she does not want them to catch cold. Right now the feedings are lasting about nine minutes.

Little Bob is full and in a food coma. The crops are filling on the older two. Oh, what a delight this nest is to watch this year. Of course, it can all change. Just continue to send the warmest of wishes to this family. We want three survivors! Three.

Closer to home. I was heading out to check on the Wood Ducks at the park. The last time I was there the male Wood Ducks – save for one – were in the equinox. They were moulting and getting their fall plumage. They were certainly not their brilliant beautiful selves.

As soon as I was out the door I could hear the familiar pecking of the male Downy Woodpecker in the garden. He comes several times a day. Rumour has it that he lives inside the 123 year-old Maple tree in front of my house.

In the winter I rub peanut butter suet on the bark and I often see him eating away. This summer he brought his baby to find the suet. The strange thing is – we have never seen the female. It is so odd.

Little Woodpecker is such a sweetie. One day when Sharpie, the Sharp-shinned Hawk, was in the garden, the little woodpecker was on the suet like he is today. For 45 minutes, he held on tight, not moving, just blinking his eyes rapidly. He was so afraid he was going to be Sharpie’s lunch. I felt so sorry for him. Sharpie was sitting on a branch under him pretending to be. feeder! Needless to say Sharpie wasn’t successful that day.

It is a beautiful fall day and the park was full of Canada geese and people having picnics and playing cricket.

Over in the pond, the male Wood Ducks really stand out. They have finished their moult. Just look at the range of colour in those feathers. Even the golden beige ones are gorgeous.

Here is a different one. The shape of the head is slightly different on this one.

The female Wood Ducks have really grown, too. My goodness. What a change in a a week. They were so tiny when I left but they seem to be growing by leaps and bounds.

There were definitely more females than males.

The Mallards were particularly annoying today. We noticed that the female Wood Ducks tended to stay close to one another.

Isn’t she beautiful?

The male Mallards are in the middle of moulting. Soon they will have those beautiful emerald green heads that are so characteristic. For now, they look a little bit like peeling duck decoys instead of living breathing water fowl.

There were lots of female Mallards in the pond today.

Two Canada Geese came flying in creating a bit of a ruckus.

Then they slithered along the surface of the pond. They looked rather strange and everyone stopped to try and figure out what they were doing.

We presumed that they were sipping water.

Speaking of water. The pond is pretty clean this year. There are two fountains and everyone is abiding by the signs and not feeding the ducks. If they do it is wild bird seed. What a huge difference from the algae infested muck of last year.

It is early morning in Australia. There will be more meals for the youngsters. All of the birds in our park are safe and sound tonight. We have had no frost. In decades past there was always a freeze in August. I wonder if this might impact migration dates?

Thank you so much for joining me. Have a lovely rest of the weekend. Tomorrow I am going to try and break my unlucky streak and catch that juvenile Green Heron that is hanging about our City. Take care all. Stay safe.

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

Osprey Migration

Dr Tim Mackrill, the Osprey specialist that worked with Glaslyn on how to set up the fish table for Aran and Mrs G this past late spring and early summer when Aran injured his wing, gave a wonderful Webinar on Osprey migration. He has taped the entire talk and you can watch it on YouTube. It is free – and worth every minute. You can, of course, start and stop the presentation as needed. Here is that link to everything you wanted to learn about Osprey migration and more!

The wait continues for the female adult at Port Lincoln’s first hatch. Any time! It’s 12 August in Australia and that was the day I guessed on the FB page. Come on hatch!!!!!!

The nest at Port Lincoln is known for its siblicide. There will be no intervention of any kind – other than putting on the Darvic rings and maybe another satellite tracker this year (if they choose to do this). If you take the number of days different from the day egg 1 was laid and egg 3 and then add the number of days between when they hatched, you will get a real number that tells you the difference in age between 1 and 3 – sometimes ten days. Some of these little ones survive. Tiny Little Bob at the Foulshaw Moss had extraordinary parents. Tiny Tot at the Achieva Nest was simply an extraordinary bird. Many aren’t. So please keep this in mind. Here is the link to the streaming cam.

There is news coming out of Loch Arkaig. Louis might still be at the lake along with one of the juveniles. Louis is very devoted to his chicks and he will wait til one of them leaves – for certain – before he does. Stay tuned. People will be checking this to make sure.

There has been no confirmation about Iris, the grand dame of all Ospreys, having left for her migration. The last certain sighting was by Sharon Leigh Miles on 6 September.

Put a bookmark on the Osprey migration video if you can’t watch it soon. On one of those rainy days when you are wanting something to watch, it is a great resource.

Thank you for joining me this morning. Take care everyone. Stay safe.

The featured image is Iris. Iris is believed to be the oldest Osprey in the world. She summers in Montana but no one knows where she stays for the winter.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Port Lincoln Osprey Project and Montana Osprey Project and the Cornell Bird Lab.

Oh, our lovely fish eating birds

I love Ospreys – bet you can tell! Still, the anxiety rises when there are three eggs on a nest that, historically, simply cannot support that many mouths to feed. Right now the Mum at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge in Australia is incubating three eggs. In 2020, a drop in fish deliveries around day 16 of the youngest life meant that food insecurities hit the two older and much bigger siblings. Tapps was a victim of siblicide. Will 2021 be different?

So far the two adults are working like a super machine. Today Dad came in with a fish delivery for mom. She left and he incubated the eggs for a half hour. Have a look at that smooth exchange:

The 2019 female fledgling of the PLO nest has been seen and photographed at Tulka yesterday. Solly, the 2020 fledgling with the satellite tracker still seems to prefer Eba Anchorage but she has spent some crazy time at Streaky Bay again. Solly is 339 days old on 26 August Australian time.

If it has been awhile since you watched an Osprey catch a fish, have a look at this slow-motion video shot in the Scottish Highlands. Incredible. When you are watching this remember that Ospreys and Owls are the only birds whose outer toe is reversible to help them hold on to their prey. It allows them to grasp with two toes in the front. Great design.

The Ospreys that live in Australia along the coasts and the rivers are Eastern Ospreys, Pandion cristatus. Eastern Ospreys do not migrate. Their status ranges from secure to vulnerable and rare in various states of Australia.

Ospreys have a system of communication between one another that individuals, such as yourself, will recognize if you have been watching Osprey nests. There are 11 physical and visual displays that show they are resting, alarming, soliciting for food, in a defensive posture, nest protecting, under attack, or sky dancing to impress their mate. In addition to the body language Ospreys use they also have 8 sounds that they make alongside the physical signs. Those include alarming, food solicitation ranging from a very low sound to an extremely high pitched sound, a sound for guarding, being excited, screaming, and the sound during copulation. These findings were published in 1993 by Vincent Bretagnoll and Jean-Claude Thibault. The article is “Communicative Behavior in Breeding Ospreys (Pandion haliaetus): Description and Relationship of Signals to Life History.” It was published in The Auk, Volume 110, Issue 4, 1 October 1993, Pages 736–751.

The British Library and the Cornell Bird Lab have an extensive library of bird sounds that you can access. Also, just watch the birds intently on their nests in different situations. You will soon be able to recognize their different visual postures. For those working in situations that deal with Ospreys, it is essential that they learn the communication and behavioural signals of these birds. These skills would definitely have helped those reviewing Malin’s flight off the nest and, in the future, could save a bird’s life.

Blue 33 (11) has delivered Maya a nice fish for breakfast. So Maya is still here. It doesn’t mean she won’t eat and fly! We just need to wait and see.

Either White YW left Tiny Little an early fish or the silvery white object is a leftover piece of fish from last night’s late feed. Is Tiny home to eat it? and will she be in Cumbria all day?

Ooops. Looks like Tiny Little is too late!!!!!!!! Mr Crow has found a nice breakfast. Does this mean Tiny Little has started her first migration?

UPDATE: Tiny Little is still here. I didn’t get the photograph but someone else did. Yippee. Will try and chase her down today.

It is another misty morning. Aran is on his perch almost in the exact same position as he was yesterday morning.

And here is Aran with Mrs G. She remains in the UK still.

At the Dyfi nest, Telyn was last seen on 21 August at 12pm while Ystwyth was last seen on 24 August at 09:26. Dysynni and Idris were both at the nest on 25 August. Idris brought Dysynni a whopper.

Yesterday, Laddie, LM12, delivered a fish to LR2 on the nest. LR2 was 97 days old.

After a pesky crow flew around the nest, LM2 decided it was safer to take that whopper over to his favourite Birch tree to eat it. Wow, Laddie, great fish!

LR1 left for her migration on 15 August. This was only the second time in the history of this nest that a fledgling has left before the female.

Oh, it is lovely to see some of them still home. Thank you, Tiny Little! News in other news is there are now three eggs for the Collins Street Falcons! That last egg arrived at 23:53 last night. Congratulations. And last, if you follow the Loch of the Lowes Nest a wonderful surprise. A 2015 fledgling, FR2, flew over Guardbridge in Fife yesterday. They got a photo. Fantastic. A survivor! There is sad news today. The Black Stork fledglings received their names yesterday. 7181 (no 1) was named Julge meaning Brave. 7181 (no 2) was named Malbe meaning Sedate. 7183 (no 3) was named Tasane meaning Peaceful. You might have recalled some animal sounds being heard at the base of the nest tree. It is now confirmed, so sadly, that Malbe has been killed by an animal. Urmas has taken the body of Malbe to be examined. Word has also come that Tuul, Karl’s fledgling, has also perished. The Black Storks are so rare – it is so sad to hear of these deaths. Our hearts go out to all who loved these beautiful families and to those who so diligently worked to make sure Jan’s nestlings were fed and healthy to fledge. There has been some problems with the tracking and posting of Karl II and his fledglings locations. I will bring this to you as I locate it. Did you follow Milda? You will know that this brave White Tailed Eagle from Durbe lost her mate and sat on her eggs for eight days without food and then a potential mate came. But last year turned to be a sad year for Milda. She is now working on the nest with her new mate, Mr K. So happy for her. There is word that WBSE 28 did, finally, get some food. Send your warm and positive wishes off to all of the birds.

Correction to earlier news letter. Karl II has only had a transmitter for two years. I said ‘many’. Thank you!

Have a wonderful day everyone. Take care. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: The Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and The Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest, Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn, Dyfi Osprey Project, The Scottish Woodland Trust and the Friends of the Loch of the Lowes, LWRT and the Manton Bay Osprey Nest, the Port Lincoln Osprey Project and FB Page.