I woke up to wonderful news from Jean-Marie Dupart from the Saloum Delta in Senegal. The Saloum Delta is home to Mangrove forests and wetlands, perfect for an Osprey.
Dupart has already counted 1018 Ospreys this month. He has another week to go before his final monthly tally. This is fabulous news in terms of numbers. But – that is not why I am excited this morning although, it is reason enough.
This is Loch Arkaig in Scotland. In 2020, it was home to Louis and Aila and their three hatchlings: Doddie (male), Vera (female), and Captain (male).
A Scottish ringed bird from Loch Arkaig is at the Saloum Delta. Dupart could not tell if it is JJ2 or JJ7. Scottish observers note that it does not have the dark necklace of JJ2, a female. To me, the number appears to be JJ7.
So why is JJ7 so special? There are several reasons. For some, JJ7 or Captain is the last ever hatch of Louis and Aila, the much loved Scottish Osprey couple at Loch Arkaig in 2020. Aila did not return from migration in 2021.
For me, JJ7 is a third hatch survivor. JJ7 is one among the list including others such as Tiny Tot Tumbles (2021, Achieva Credit Union, St Petersburg, FL), Tiny Little Bob or Blue 463 (2021, Foulshaw Moss, Cumbria), and Ervie (2021, Port Lincoln, Australia). My 12 year research project focuses on third hatch survivors. I want to know if the creativity and persistence that kept these little ones alive on the nest also gives them a higher success rate in the wild. Unless the birds are ringed or have a sat-pak – or a very distinctive head like Tiny Tot Tumbles- then there is no way to know about their survival rates. That is why this sighting is so important. Is this JJ7? And if so, is JJ7 the only chick to survive from the clutch of three?
There is little Captain at the back of the food line. Doddie is on the right and Vera is on Captain’s left. You can clearly see the difference in size between Doddie, the oldest sibling, also a male, and Captain.
Little Captain is on the far right.
Despite lots of fish on the nest and the exceptional parenting of Louis and Aila, there was some intense sibling rivalry.
Louis and Aila worked together to try and ensure that all three chicks thrived. Louis fished at night and also assisted Aila in feeding. JJ7 was sometimes fed separately from the larger siblings in order to make sure he had enough to eat.
The chicks enjoyed some fish after being ringed.
JJ7 Captain fledges on the 24th of July 2020.
Captain thinking about leaving the natal nest for the last time.
And he’s off!
JJ7 flies off the nest to begin his migration on 23 August 2020. Will he return this year to find a mate? Gosh, I hope so and since no one has claimed his natal nest, I hope that Captain gets there before anyone else. He can say hello to Dad, Louis, at the loch.
Along with hundreds of others I cannot stop smiling today! This is incredibly good news.
In other Bird World News, NE27 hatched at 02:24 on the 25th of January. NE26 hatched at 04:06 on the 23rd – making them approximately 46.5 hours apart in age.
Thank you so much for joining me today. I didn’t think anything could take away from the excitement of NE27 hatching but having a sighting of JJ7 sure did! Take care. See you soon.
Thank you to the following for their streaming cam or FB pages where I took my screen shot: The Woodland Trust and People’s Post Code Lottery, Loch Arkaig FB Page, NEFlorida Bald Eagle Cam, and Jean-Marie Dupart.
Sad news arrived on Thursday night. Millie, a young Kakapo, was found deceased. This brings the total number of Kakapo to 204.
In Latvia, the rain has been falling hard all day Thursday. The heavy drops sounded like hail hitting the microphone of the streaming cam. Milda has to work hard to both feed her miracle chick and to keep it warm and dry. That little one has no protection against the weather! That will come when she gets some thermal down but still, she will not be protected fully from the weather until we have juvenile contour feathers.
The wind was really strong on the White-Tailed Eagle nest at Durbe, Latvia Friday morning but the rain had stopped. Milda looks at her little miracle in the nest. By afternoon the winds had calmed and the songbirds sing to Milda as she calls out to Mr C.
Milda’s eaglet is so cute and so healthy. Bird World needed something wonderful and the miracle of this little chick hatching in a nest in Latvia was it! It is really endearing to watch Milda feed her last chick with her deceased mate, Raimis.
I wrote with tears running down my cheeks earlier because Tiny Tot had really done well with the feedings, trying to steal a piece of fish from an older sibling, and having success grabbing a large piece from Mom that Dad has just delivered. Well, why did I think that would be the end of the day? At 6:59:57 on Thursday evening Jack arrives on the nest with a really nice headless fish.
One of the older chicks wants that whole fish but Jack seems to be waiting around for Diane to arrive. Maybe he shared the head with her? Let’s hope so. She has done an amazing job today equalizing the feeding on this nest.
But wait! Diane has other ideas. She arrives with another fish at 7:02:58. Wow. Within three minutes the nest has two fish deliveries. This is how this nest should have been going all along. Keep it up!
Of course, 2 thinks she should have both fish.
Diane looks like she is comparing her catfish to the one that the older sibling has from Jack. Oh, Diane’s fish is still alive!
I could paste fifty screen shots but, instead, I will just cut to the chase. 2 has its own fish so Diane is feeding 1. But where is Tiny Tot?
At 7:14:28 Tiny Tot is between mom’s legs getting fed. Diane moves the fish to the right corner of the nest. Tiny Tot only stopped eating to do a ps at 8:09:15.
Tiny Tot is full to the brim and finally quits eating at 8:10:10. He has eaten approximately half a catfish in this last feeding. Look at the picture above. His legs are fatter and you can see his round little bottom again. Tiny Tot staggers to the middle of the nest and passes out in a food coma. Sweet dreams little one!
It was a brilliant day on this nest on Thursday. Jack and Diane seem to have gotten their act together in terms of what is needed for food. Giving the older siblings small fish or their own piece allows Diane to feed Tiny Tot. We know that he can also self-feed. Let us hope they remember this strategy and do the same tomorrow. Diane finished feeding the big ones at 8:28 and she also got some nice bites herself – well deserved.
On Friday morning, there was some catfish left from last night (a bit and the bones) and 2 deliveries on the Achieva Nest. One looked like a flounder (or a flat fish) and another was a chunk of catfish. Tiny Tot did not get any of the first flat fish that I could see but he did get some of the big chunk that came at 8:08:18. Diane fed him some and then he took a piece at 8:28:50 and was self-feeding. Diane also fed Tiny something (perhaps the piece he was self-feeding and the old piece of catfish). There is Tiny Tot standing up nicely at the rim of the nest looking at mom when he is all finished.
Grinnell is doing the late night Thursday feeding at the UC Berkeley falcon nest. Isn’t he handsome? And as of Friday morning we still have three little marshmallows.
It is a gorgeous day on Skidiway island and there are two very healthy and alert Osplets on that nest. No sign of anything happening with that third egg (yippee).
Over at the NE Florida Bald Eagle nest near Jacksonville, Legacy really enjoys her fish delivery early this morning. She is a super strong beautiful ebony coloured eaglet. All eyes are on Samson and Gabby’s 2021 chick as she continues branching. Fledge is coming soon!
Gabby and Samson continue to feed Legacy well and teach her lessons about stealing food – things she did not learn with another sibling in the nest. Legacy is going to be a magnificent eagle!
Tomorrow, 24 April is the expected hatch of Big Sur’s California condors, Redwood Queen and Phoenix. Oh, I hope that egg is viable. It was laid on 4 March. What a wonderful thing for these two that both survived huge fires in their lives.
And you might remember that I was looking into third hatch Ospreys – the ones like Tiny Tot that had been battered by their older siblings. My friend ‘T in Strasbourg’ had contacted someone in Wales for me. I am very interested in the ‘survival’ rate of the ‘threes’ and Z1 was identified as an osprey like Tiny Tot who returned as a juvenile as a fierce Osprey. The last sighting I could find of him was 4 April 2020. Well news came this morning in a list on the Loch Garten FB page that Z1 arrived at his nest in Snowdonia on 1 April along with his unringed female mate. Oh, I wish I could put together a list of these third hatches that survived. Z1 is the only one of his clutch to migrate and return – now three years! Fantastic. If you think of any third hatches that were bonked and battered but survived to return from their first migration, please do let me know. I would really appreciate it.
Thank you so much for joining me today. As you can tell I am really excited about the progress that Tiny Tot has made in the past few days. It looks like all of the birds heading into the weekend are doing well. Take care. See you soon!
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Ventana Wildlife Society, Achieva Credit Union Osprey, NE Florida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF, UC Berkeley Falcon Cam, Latvian Wildlife Fund, Cornell Bird Lab and Skidiway Audubon. Thanks also to the Kakapo Recovery FB Page where I took the image of Millie.
Daisy’s Monday morning in Australia (Sunday in North America) started out as beautifully as it ended the evening before. She had gone to forage returning at 19:45 yesterday evening. It appears to be a growing pattern, leaving in the heat of the afternoon and returning right before dusk. This pretty much ensures that she will miss the sea eagles if they come.
While she was away yesterday, the Rainbow Lorikeets came to visit Daisy, full of energetic chatter but, at the same time, wondering where she was! They are so cute. They almost look like stuffed plushies someone has placed on Daisy’s nest tree.
It is going to be hot again today for Daisy. They are predicting temperatures of 34 climbing to 39 tomorrow. Our pour little duck needs a paddle pool up there with her!
Daisy decided not to leave this morning for a bathroom break or to forage. Instead, she stayed on the nest. The Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos can be heard around 7:15 but it is an Unkindness that rattles Daisy’s world at 8:04. A group of Ravens is called an Unkindness and they were certainly not nice to Daisy. In fact, they were downright threatening. They moved from the top of the tree down closer. It was impossible to get am image of them in the tree (see second image below) but their shadows could be seen and their noise was deafening. Daisy was so frightened.
Look at the image below. Notice that Daisy has spread her feathers out in a manner similar to when a raptor mantles its prey. Her tail is fanned out and the feathers on her back are raised. She is protecting her clutch of eggs from these predators. The Ravens try harder and harder to get Daisy off her nest of eggs so they can eat them!
The Unkindness bullied Daisy trying to get her off her nest for five minutes. It must have seemed like a life time. And then they were away!
Except for the heat, the rest of the day has been relatively uneventful. The birds and animals of the forest are trying to expend as little energy as they can and remain cool in the hot Australian heat.
Daisy gathers up leaves and methodically covers her clutch of eggs and flies off to forage at 13:04:44.
Notice how Daisy has moved leaves over on top of her down and tucked it in tight today. She might be worried about the Ravens coming back to try and find her nest. Or maybe she thinks the sea eagles might stop in to see if anyone is incubating the eggs.
Look at the image above. You can just see Daisy flying off. It got really hot on the nest today. The afternoon is the worst. Daisy left a little earlier than usual. Eggs are incubated at 37.5 degrees. It is possible that the heat from outside and the down stuffed around could keep the eggs toasty warm until later today. I wonder if Daisy will return around 17:00 or if she will wait til almost dusk.
Update: It was a very short foray for Daisy. She was gone only until 14:32 – so under an hour and a half. When she returned it looked like she was pretending like she had just landed on the nest. Like always, she looked around and walked very slowly before going over to her nest. What I find interesting is that she does not immediately move the leaves or open the down. It is always like she is simply waiting a little more being overly careful. Daisy is so cautious. What a good little mother!
Thank you for joining us and checking in on the little duck that built her nest inside the nest tree of the big sea eagles.
Thank you to the Sea Eagle cam, Birdlife Australia, and the Discovery Centre for the cameras that provided the images.
Daisy has been on the nest quietly but alertly brooding her eggs. She took a very early morning break from 4:13:44 to 5:16:34. Possibly a bathroom break for a duck or a chance to grab a quick breakfast and cool off in the water before one of the hottest days on the nest. It is 14:06:40 and our cute little duck is panting quickly in order to regulate her temperature despite the fact that there is now shade on the nest.
Someone asked me about the ducklings. Is it safe for them to hatch and jump from a nest in a tree 75 feet high? Yes, it is perfectly safe. The ducklings are not harmed because the down on their body absorbs the impact. In fact, I am told that they actually bounce. It is hard to imagine! Last year a pair of Canada Geese laid their eggs in an Osprey nest in Minnesota. The goslings were recorded leaping down to the ground to everyone’s amazement. Some geese are known to build their nests on cliffs 150 feet high to be away from predators. No harm has come to the goslings when they have left from those nests.
Here is a video of a Wood Duck whose nest was in a very high tree. It is only 1.33 minutes long. Have a look. This is what Daisy’s ducklings will do. She will leap down to the forest floor and they will jump! Enjoy.
Of course, there are many fears for Daisy. Remember, she is effectively a single mother in an environment that is unusual. Her ducklings will hatch and immediately start peeping. This will draw attention to the nest. It is only twenty-four hours after hatch that they take their ‘leap of faith’ jumping off of the big nest on the Ironbark Tree. But first, before they can do that, they have to survive any predators and somehow make their way through all those twigs to the rim without getting their little paddles caught up in them. And then there are the predators on the ground. I have often wondered why WBSE Dad has not damaged any more eggs. Is he just dropping by to check, waiting for them to hatch? Him and Lady are well known for bringing in the Silver Gull chicks to the nest for their eaglets. And then there is Mr. Raven and all the Pied Currawongs and last, but never least, the foxes. I am told that they have been removed from the park. I hope so. That would be one less thing for Daisy to worry about. But for now, we will just simply rejoice in every hassle free day that Daisy has. We are now half way in the incubation period to hatch watch: February 6-10.
It is now late afternoon in the forest. The sun is back shining on Daisy’s head and the nest cup. It is so hot that there are no sounds of any birds. Everyone is trying to keep cool.
Daisy begins to tuck the down in around her nest along with pulling leaves closer to her nest. Then she sees a shadow of a bird cross the nest and she stops! She waits and listens. Five minutes later she resumes her preparations for concealing her nest and heading to the water to eat and cool off. She flies off the nest to the left, to the closest water source, at 15:11:10.
It was so hot yesterday and it is even hotter today. If Daisy follows her pattern of late, she will return to the nest between 19:45:00 and 20:00. And if the Sea Eagles are being typical, if they are coming in to check it will be around 17:00 and Daisy will be gone!
It is Day 12 of Daisy’s brooding. Thank you for joining on this magical journey of the little duck who, instead of making her nest near the water, chose the great big nest of the White-Bellied Sea Eagle.
To 12 dzień lęgów Daisy. Dziękuję za udział w tej magicznej podróży małej kaczuszki, która zamiast założyć gniazdo nad wodą, wybrała wielkie, duże gniazdo orła bielika.
It has been a very quiet and rather hot day for Daisy, the Black Pacific Duck whose nest is in the old Ironbark Tree in the Sydney Olympic Park. Thus far, the only visitors of any note today were the chattering Rainbow Lorikeets who came around 8am.
Yesterday, I mentioned that Daisy is in a category of ducks known as ‘dabbling’ ducks. The information that I had, at that time, was that they foraged along the shores of the rivers and lakes. This did not support pictures I have seen of them in the water hunting for food. So I looked for more information. One small informative page for children said that they mainly dabble at night. Photographs show them foraging during the day. And we know from Daisy’s behaviour that she goes out normally mid afternoon to feed. But we also know from our observations of Daisy that she can see well enough in the dark to come and go from the nest. That same bulletin stressed that the duck plunges its head and neck under the water, raising its rear end vertical to the surface. That is why one of the people working as a moderator for the Sea Eagle cameras said that when she saw the Black Pacific Ducks in the canal, all she could see was their back end. Now it all makes more sense. They also feed in grassy areas.
Like Raptors, Pacific black ducks are monogamous. Males and females will stay together having only one partner until one of them dies. Their courtship consists of preening one another, flapping their wings, and bobbing their heads. While most Pacific black ducks build their nests near a source of water, we have learned from observing Daisy the Duck that she did not do that. So it is not always the case. Indeed, you might remember that a woman from Poland wrote to me about a duck making her nest also in an eagle’s nest. Those ducklings survived. The female lays from 8 to 123 eggs. If we look closely at Daisy’s eggs, they are white. Daisy will incubate the eggs from 26 to 30 days. That is two days shorter than the information I have previously posted. We know that they are precocial, able to feed themselves at birth. What I have not mentioned is that they will be fully independent of Daisy in 48-58 days after hatch. Daisy’s ducklings will be ready to find their own mate and breed when they are one year old.
One of the most beautiful parts of Daisy’s plumage is the speculum. It is a beautiful iridescent green. You can see it in the image above with Daisy and the Rainbow Lorikeet and in the image below. Depending on the light, the emerald green speculum sometimes appears blue or purple.
And did you know that Daisy does not have any teeth? She has tiny serrations located along the inside of their bill that helps them filter out their food from the water. Daisy’s ability to sort out her dinner from the river water means that these serrations work kind of like a colander or a strainer!
It is 14:57 and Daisy has just left the nest to forage. I noticed two things about her departure just now. First, she covered her nest with the down folding it over like she has on other days but she did not spend as much time arranging leaves and plant material over the top of the nest. She also flew out a different direction to some days. Often she goes to the right but if she leaves from the left side of the nest, as she did today, she will be closer to the water. She must be very hot and hungry. She returned from her foraging last evening at 19:07 and has not left the nest since.
I don’t quite understand why Daisy left and did not cover the down over the eggs with plant material, leaves, and twigs this afternoon. I wonder if it is because of the intense heat? She is always very meticulous about concealing the eggs well so predators cannot see them. And the wind is blowing. She was not scared from the nest. So, what do we think: was it the heat and the sun? she did not want the eggs cooked in the heat of the Australian summer?
It has been a hot day and the forest has been relatively quiet. Daisy was incubating her eggs for twenty hours straight before taking her break. The weather report for tomorrow says that it will be even hotter, 36 degrees in Sydney.
A quick update: The White Bellied Sea Eagle called ‘Dad’ fly onto a branch of the nest tree at 16:59:24. He did a little preening. Never went down to the nest. Thank goodness as the wind had blown the down open and eggs could be seen. He departed at 17:03:43. I am so very glad that Daisy was not there or flying in. It does seem that this time of evening is the typical time he arrives. Well, he is gone now. Back to find some cool breezes off the water of the Parramatta River.
Please join us again tomorrow as we follow the life of this little Black Pacific Duck.
Thank you to the Sea Eagle Cam, Birdlife Australia and the Discovery Center for their camera from which these scaps came.
I have to admit that the time difference between the Canadian Prairies and Sydney, Australia often means that I am awake at 1:30 am waiting for Daisy to return to the nest from foraging. Last night it caught up with me and I turned out the light. Daisy is being smart. She waited til the sun was beginning to lower itself before returning to the Ironbark Tree. It was 17:07.
Daisy approaches her nest cautiously. Remember, she has, at the last minute, looked up and glanced the White Bellied Sea Eagles sitting stone cold still on the camera tree and had to leave quickly. I am impressed with her approach. She lands on the old creaking tree, stopping and looking, and slowly proceeding to her nest. Someone might think she is just a curious visitor. But we know better! So far this little Black Pacific Duck has outwitted the sea eagles!
The sun lowering on the horizon leaves a beautiful filtered light on our beautiful little duck. For those of you who have been following along every day on Daisy adventures, you will notice that she is really cleaning up the down that was tossed about and getting it back on the nest.
The Homebush Bay weather says it is now 21.9 degrees C at 5am. It is expected to climb to 33 degrees C at the height of the day. Oh, Daisy, it is going to get pretty toasty on that nest!
In an article for the Smithsonian Magazine, Brian Handwerk says in ‘Defying Stereotypes, Ducklings Are as Clever as They Are Cute’ that “a duckling’s ability to imprint confers a remarkable ability for abstract thought, often associated only with primates and other animals considered highly intelligent. Ducks even outperform supposedly “smarter” animal species in certain aspects of abstract reasoning. Just hours after birth, those yellow fuzzballs understand concepts like “same” and “different,” remember them, and apply them to never-before-seen objects with no social cues or training” (14 July 2016). In being able to distinguish likeness and difference, the ducklings are demonstrating that they are not ‘bird-brained’ but, rather, they have a high level of abstract thought.
I was so glad to see someone writing something positive about ducks. It isn’t that I have found negative statements about ducks but, rather, it is the absence, the invisibility of ducks in recent popular books on birds. For example, in Jennifer Ackerman’s, The Genius of Birds, there is not one mention of a duck! Magpies, yes. House Sparrows, yes. Even one little mallard, no. I would like to think, from observing Daisy, that ducks are as capable of complex behaviour as every other bird discussed in the book. I think that you might agree with me. She has, thus far, outwitted the boss of the forest, the largest seabird in Australia, the White Bellied Sea Eagle. Let us hope that this pattern continues!
I begin to look at my bookshelves and realize that I have been focused entirely on Red Tail Hawks and falcons. There must be as many beautiful books on ducks. Surely people have adopted ducks, made ponds for them and feed them in the same way that people in the English countryside have swans or wildlife rehabbers have Red Tail Hawks. Perhaps you know of some books on ducks that I should read. Lists are always appreciated. When I looked on line, there are pages and pages of children’s stories about ducks and geese. There are some about making duck decoys and how to line them up so that ducks can be shot. Sorry, I don’t wish to shoot them. I would like them to live happily in a pond or at the edge of the water like our Dabbling Duck, Daisy.
It is 5:57 and the forest is beginning to wake up. Daisy hears ravens cawing in the distance. Ravens normally follow the sea eagles in the forest. She stretches her neck to listen intently and then relaxes again.
There are enormous demands and dangers for Daisy while she is nesting. She has pulled off the down on her breast to line the nest. This also creates a bare spot which is the ‘brood patch’. The heat from Daisy’s body goes directly to the eggs. Periodically during the day and night, she will rotate the eggs. Daisy has, as mentioned before, lost a lot of her body weight creating the eggs and lining the nest. She also is not able to go and forage as frequently as she would when she is not nesting. We know that she goes out to replenish herself but that is on average about three hours a day. Otherwise, she is alert and on the nest tending to her eggs. Daisy is not like larger waterfowl, like geese and ducks. She does not have a fat reserve to draw on when she is incubating. So besides the danger of her own health, there are also other animals in the forest that are predators. We have met many of them in the days that Daisy has been incubating – Ravens, the White Bellied Sea Eagles, the Pied Currawong, and perhaps BooBook Owl, Magpies, and possums. Sadly, a lot of wild ducks have an even bigger danger created by humans – the loss of their habitat.
There is no need to create any drama around Daisy. Right now she has out mustered all of the other birds and animals in the forest. As I said yesterday, an uneventful day is a good day for Daisy – just like it is for us!
The sun paints a rose-gold hue over the nest as it rises over the forest.
Our little duck uses this quiet time to do some aerating of the nest and some preening.
The only visitors so far have been the Rainbow Lorikeets and they have spent their time on the bowl of the big nest.
Daisy heard them but she could not see them at first. They were climbing around on the bottom of the big sea eagle nest. When she realized that they were the beautiful rainbow coloured parrots and that they would not bother her or her eggs, she relaxed.
I have this thought that always comes to mind when I see the Rainbow Lorikeets climbing over the nest tree. They are not frightened and that must mean that the White Bellied Sea Eagles are not close! That is a very good thing. The Lorikeets are still climbing around on the nest. They have been there for more than an hour. Daisy can relax and enjoy a nice morning.
I am so happy that you have joined me today to find out what has been happening in the world of little Daisy. I will bring updates as I try to do everyday in about six hours. Stay tuned to find out if your favourite Black Pacific Duck had any more adventures today!
Thanks to WBSE Sea Eagle Cam, Birdlife Australia, and the Discovery Center for the cameras so I can take my screen shots.
It is noon on Daisy’s nest in the Sydney Olympic Park forest. She has started to pant as the sun shines directly on her. Like other birds, panting is a way for Daisy to regulate her temperature; she does not sweat like humans. It is, as summer days go, hot. The weather at Homebush Bay indicates that it is 34.1 degrees C. I wonder if it is actually hotter on the nest?? It is normally understood that heat rises. And, as you can see from the image below, Daisy is in direct sunlight right now. Some parts of Australia are bracing themselves for very hot weather in a few days, up to 39 degrees C.
Many have thought that Daisy would need to take more breaks during the day as the heat builds. However, since it is 12:30 and she remains, I am thinking that she will follow her regular pattern of going off in the afternoon to forage. She has now gathered up more down to cover up the eggs from predators.
At 13:18 Daisy begins to take the down of the nest cup and fold it over inwards. Sometimes she just does this and then will turn and do her cute tail wiggle. Occasionally, she does this when she is rolling her eggs but, most often, it is a sign that she is thinking about leaving to eat. Remember, Daisy does, if all things go serenely, have a pattern of leaving the nest between 1300 and 1400 to forage. Yesterday it was 14:02. And yesterday, she returned at 16:49 but noticed both WBSE on the camera tree and aborted her landing on the nest. So, on average, if voluntarily, it appears that she takes about a two and a half to a three hour break.
In the images below, Daisy begins to tuck the down in around the egg cup. Once the down is folded onto the top of the eggs, she then goes about placing leaves and plant material, and small twigs to further disguise the location. It took her eight minutes to get everything right so that she can leave. She departed at 13:26.
All birds have predators and Daisy is particularly vulnerable as she is an outsider to the forest. Her presence and her seven eggs have caught the attention of some, like the Raven and Pied Currawong, that would eat her eggs. Like Daisy’s plumage that serves as camouflage, the manner in which she has concealed her nest is meant to distract any potential threats. She has used the leaves and plant material on top. They blend in perfectly, there is absolutely nothing that would call attention. Daisy is also very discreet and alert in her comings and goings from the nest. Every move is slow and calculated unless she is frightened off by the approaching sea eagles or if she notices their arrival in another tree. Then she leaves quickly!
This is day 11 of Daisy’s brooding or incubation. Even though the eggs were laid on different days, Daisy did not start hard incubation until the last egg was in the nest. Imagine that one minute there are eggs, and within a few minutes the nest will be brimming full of peeping and clacking ducklings. This is precisely what will happen. This is known as synchronized hatching. The number of incubation days to hatching varies but is normally 28-30.
Daisy’s little ducklings – should the nest survive and they make it through the forest to the water – will be covered with fuzzy yellow down. They will have a characteristic dark chocolate brown-black line running from their bill through their eye. There are some white patches on their wings. They will be ever so cute!
Daisy’s ducklings are precocial at hatch. This means that they do not need Daisy to feed them. Daisy’s role will be to lead them to the water where they can forage themselves. Daisy will also help them to learn about predators and she will keep them warm in the evening. In a couple of months their new plumage will be that of an adult Black Pacific Duck, like Daisy.
They are known as ‘dabbling or puddle ducks’. They feed by tipping rather than diving to the bottom of the shallow water. They often forage at the edge of the river and lake like they are doing in the images below. They do not, however, hunt for food on land.
It is due to be another hot day in the forest tomorrow. The prediction is that it will be 37 degrees Celsius. This might turn out quite well for Daisy as the White Bellied Sea Eagles could be at Goat Island enjoying the cooler weather near the water. It is 16:42 and Daisy has not returned to her nest. She will be enjoying the cool waters of the canal and the river and, since it is so hot, might decide til near dusk when it is safe for her to return to her nest. The sea eagles are normally roosting then.
An uneventful day is a good day for Daisy the Duck.
Thanks for dropping by to check on the little duck who is occupying the large sea eagle’s nest in Sydney Olympic Park forest. Stay safe everyone. See you tomorrow!
I am grateful for the Sea Eagle cam, Birdlife Australia, and the Discovery centre for the cameras they support. This is where I get my scaps.