White Bellied Sea Eaglet 28 dominates feeding

The golden glow of the morning sun kissed the branches of the old Ironbark Tree in Sydney’s Olympic Forest. WBSE 27 and 28 were sound asleep in the nest bowl while an adult was on the parent branch keeping watch.

This morning breakfast arrived at 9:20:11. It was a nice chunk of fish.

28 was up at the breakfast table right away and dominated the feeding. There was no pecking and 28 was on the left side! Well, well.

It is easy to see that 28 really loves the fish! One of the things people have noticed is that the birds actually do have preferences. Some prefer fish, others prefer birds. Some don’t like specific species of birds. WBSE tend to really love their fish!

Here is a short video clip of the feeding.

WBSE 28 is still being fed after ten minutes. Indeed, Lady will still be feeding 28, almost exclusively, for another twenty minutes.

At 9:30:11 either a Pied Currawong or an Australian Magpie swooped down on the nest. Lady alerted and both of the sea eaglets pancaked on the nest.

Anyone watching the feeding would have immediately known that Lady’s alert call meant ‘danger’ and the sea eaglets stopped everything and became very still. This is what all raptors do, as far as I know. It is certainly what Osprey chicks do when their parent is alerting.

Oh, these eaglets love this fresh fish! 28 has gotten very good at the quick snatch method as well. He is very cute.

Lady finished feeding the pair at 10:01:27. They both settled down, each with a crop – 28’s was the biggest! He is in front sort of sitting up.

Right now it is easy to tell the difference – 27 has more juvenile feathers on its shoulders and wings.

No doubt, WBSE 27 might well dominate the next feeding. But it is significant to note that 28 stepped up first and was fed – and went to sleep with a very large crop. There was absolutely not a hint of sibling rivalry other than the typical ‘snatch and turn’ of 28 at times. The ‘snatch and turn’ is often a side effect reaction – grab the food quickly and turn – protecting one’s head from being pecked earlier in the chick’s life.

These two are doing very well. I hope that the Magpie or the Currawong – as well as BooBook Owl, and others do not inflict any injuries on any of the sea eagles. In fact, some of you might remember that it was a Magpie that helped WBSE 26 last year against the Pied Currawong.

The top two images are of a Pied Currawong and the bottom one is an Australian Magpie. Sometimes you only see a blur. Those familiar with the sounds of the forest might be able to tell who caused the ruckus.

“Pied Currawong ( Strepera graculina)” by Tatters ✾ is licensed under CC BY 2.0
“Pied Currawong” by Tatters ✾ is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

There are decided differences between the two but a split second sweep of black and white makes it difficult. The Pied Currawong has been a constant in the Sydney Olympic Forest. Perhaps it has a nest near to the sea eagles and wants the big birds – the top of the food chain – to get out of town!

“Australian Magpie” by Lisa.Hunt is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Sadly, the Currawong did chase 26 out of the forest and she wound up the next day, after a storm that evening, on the 22nd floor of a condo building about 1.5 kilometres away from the nest. The Currawong are a big problem in the forest. They also chased 25 out when it fledged and I suspect they have done this in years past. 25 never returned to the nest. No one knows what became of her. Ideally, these two beauties fledge and return to the nest for rest and food just like the Bald Eagles or the sea eagle fledglings are fed down by the Parramatta River by the parents til they can survive on their own.

It has to be mentioned that Sydney’s Parramatta River is full of dioxins. Commercial fishing is banned after elevated levels of the toxins were found in seafood from the Sydney Harbour and the Parramatta River.

“Parramatta River, NSW, Australia” by Terrazzo is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The toxins leaked into the river from a shipping container company as reported in The Sydney Morning Herald on 16 May 2009. The article said, “The Patrick’s site on the Camellia peninsula, near Rosehill Racecourse, has been found to be leaking the chemical Chromium VI, posing a risk to people and marine life.”

In 2017, 2ser 107.3 reported that the Parramatta River was a “toxic time bomb.” They said, “Fifty years of toxic chemical residue is sitting on the bottom of Sydney Harbour and the Parramatta River. It’s a toxic time-bomb and disturbing this sediment could worsen already dire pollution levels. And now sweeping developments along the shore of the River could be bringing more pollution to the already sullied waters.” While many might have hoped to swim in the river before they were too elderly to do so, contaminated storm water was pumped into the river in December 2020 causing more problems.

https://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/contaminated-storm-water-pumped-from-camellia-site-into-parramatta-river/news-story/83b1a3c9e5e5c226d687ad47f0ee982e

That lovely fish that the two sea eaglets ate this morning came from this river. It is a tragedy.

Thank you so much for joining me. These are just the cutest little sea eagles. 28 is quite the character. Spend some time watching them. Everything is good.

Thank you to the Sydney Sea Eagle Cam @ Birdlife Australia’s Discovery Centre for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots and video clip.

Saturday morning in Bird World

Lady and Dad at the White-Bellied Sea Eagle Nest in the Sydney Olympic Park Forest welcomed WBSE 28 at 5:41 pm on 31 July.

The egg began to split open at 17:08. You can see the egg tooth of the chick that is banging away at the shell. Once it is all cracked like it is now, the chick will wiggle and push to get out. Lady often helps by pulling off the bottom of the shell. She removed the shell of 27 so that it would not adhere to 28’s shell and cause difficulties. The females often eat the shells to help them regain their calcium that has been partially depleted making the eggs.

By 17:41 WBSE 28 was completely out of the shell and for some crazy reason the streaming cam decided to switch to IR mode! Let us all hope that 27 is a gentle and caring older sibling til these two get big enough and out of the bobble head stage!

Congratulations to everyone down in Sydney!

It was wonderful luck to wake up in Canada and see Tiny Little on the Foulshaw Moss nest in Cumbria. It was 14:15 and she was busy eating a nice big fish all alone. Wow.

Tiny Little kept looking about while devouring her afternoon meal. With two big siblings and no where to hide I am certain that she is hoping they don’t show up.

Tiny Little has grown into a beautiful fledgling. At the time of banding they believed that Tiny Little (or Little Bob, LB) was a female but could not say for certain as her growth was so much behind the other two but, she has caught up. Look at those strong stout legs. She is a gorgeous female.

Thinking maybe I might get lucky, I decided to check on the Collins Marsh chick just in case there was an early morning fish delivery. At first, it did not look hopeful and then the chick and Mum began food calling. Dad must have been in sight of the nest.

Ah, what a relief to see this little one getting fed early in the day. Let us hope that the deliveries continue in rapid succession. This chick needs a lot of fish to grow as big as Tiny Little before it needs to migrate.

It seems everyone is eating! Zenit, on the Bucovina Golden Eagle Nest in Romania, has received a delivery, too. Here is Mom arriving with the prey at 11:01:09. She calls out to Zenit.

It is not even a second before Zenit arrives, very excited, on the nest.

Mom moves off that nest quickly as Zenit mantles his lunch.

In Romania, as in other cultures, the Golden Eagle is a symbol of noblility and power. Images of double-headed eagles can be found on the buildings and coins of ancient civilizations in the Middle East such as Sumer and Babylon. The Romans, the Holy Roman Empire, and the Byzantines each used the symbol of the Golden Eagle for their empires. The Aquila (eagle) appears on the standards (the top of the spears of the Romans while the Byzantines were fond of the double-headed eagle which symbolized the dual role of the emperor as both secular and religious head.

An illustration of the vexilloid of the Roman Empire with the Golden Eagle standard:

This is the flag of the Holy Roman Empire:

Wikimedia Commons

Today the Golden Eagle continues to appear as an emblem of the government for various countries and rulers of Europe including that of the President of the Russian Federation. So even in contemporary times the beautiful eagle adorns the coins, buildings, flags, and uniforms representing their power and authority.

Historically, the Golden Eagle was widespread throughout Romania. There was a steep decline in the numbers of breeding pairs in the 20th century due to the use of pesticides both for agriculture and the control of mosquitoes. Hunting and the lack of sufficient food also caused a decline in the numbers. In 2002, it is estimated that there were only 30-40 nesting pairs in the country. This figure doubled in 2012 to 50-60 pairs. There are approximately 300 breeding pairs in Romania today. Current threats to the Golden Eagles continue to be a lack of prey, illegal logging, loss of habitat, poaching, and poisoning. The Golden Eagle is, thus, very rare in Romania.

“Golden eagle (2)” by jack_spellingbacon is licensed under CC BY 2.0

When Zenit is an adult, his wings will be up to 2.1 metres or 7 feet and he will weigh from 3.2 to 6.6 kilograms or 7 to 14.5 lbs. Females are one quarter to one half larger than the males. Juveniles have been known to travel up to 1000 km or 621 miles after they leave their natal nest. Zenit will reach maturity when he is around 5 years old. Golden Eagles have been known to live up to 32 years but the average is 15-20 years.

At the time he is an adult, Zenit will be an ‘Avian Apex Predator’. That means that healthy adult birds are not prey to any other raptor or mammal. They are at the top of the food chain. Zenit’s eyesight is 8 times that of a human – much better than mine! He will hunt rabbits, young deer, goats, and ibex but he will also eat carrion, birds, and squirrels.

It has been a great learning experience watching Zenit grow from being a chick into this beautiful juvenile.

It is a dark and gloomy Saturday. It is difficult to tell if the strange look in the sky is from the fires, perhaps an impending rainy day, or both. It might be a great day to sip hot tea and read. A copy of The Scottish Ospreys from extinction to survival arrived from a used book store in the UK yesterday. It looks like it is a perfect day to dig into it.

Thank you so much for joining me. I hope that you have a wonderful Saturday.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I obtained my screen shots: Sydney Sea Eagles, Birdlife Australia and The Discovery Center, Collins Marsh Nature Reserve Osprey Cam, Asociata Wild Bucovina, Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest.

A joyful day

It was just so nice to start the day knowing that the Collins Marsh osprey chick was still with us. It was nothing short of a miracle that the very serious storm cells turned and headed away from the nest – and all the other Osprey nests in the area! Watching the satellite feed and then seeing those cells turn southeast – well, it was hard to believe. After 1am, the lightning strikes began to wane.

The site of the Collins Marsh nest is at the red pinpoint. In this area are also numerous Bald Eagle nests along with countless other Ospreys. The storm turned as it approached Lake Winniebago.

The little one has had several feedings today and, hopefully, this will be the last big drama this baby has to face before fledge.

‘S’ just wrote to tell me that the Dad on the Collins Marsh Nest had brought in a sizeable fish for Mum and babe just after 6pm. Many of the fish have been small. Thank you ‘S’. Much appreciated!

Right before the fish delivery the chick was being fed. Oh, what a lovely image – a little crop growing and mum on the nest feeding this very brave baby.

Here’s dad just about to leave after dropping off a bigger fish for these two. So glad that the waters were not stirred from the rain and storm last night.

Wee Bob had a nice crop. Mum is finishing up that nice fish. Both of them are going to sleep well tonight.

Everyone is celebrating the hatch of WBSE 27 and the pip of 28. Thankfully, they will be hatched close together. The sea eaglet bobbles are known for their sibling rivalry and fights over dominance in the nest. Perhaps this will help. We will see. For now, WBSE 27 is simply a little cutie leaning on ’28’.

This is not a great image of the chick. Apologies. But you can see the pip starting in the second egg.

Lady sure looks happy with that little fluff ball sticking out in front of her.

Two things to notice. First, that white line down the front of the beak is the egg tooth. It actually sticks up like a little spike. The chick uses it to pound away at the shell. It will eventually disappear as the beak grows. Secondly, if you are used to Bald Eagle babies, you will notice that the natal down on the White-bellied sea eaglet is white, not grey.

This is the first breakfast of fish for this little one.

We are having wildlife fires in Canada just like parts of the United States. On Vancouver Island, the Bald Eagle juveniles have been heavily impacted by the fires, the drought, and the lack of fish in some areas. There are lots of eagles, ospreys, and other species in care.

My daughter sent me an article this morning about how the people on Vancouver Island have joined together to provide fish for the Bald Eagles in care. It is one of those feel good comings together – just like the people of Mlade Buky who fed Father Stork and the little ones or the people of the Glaslyn Valley in Wales who provided fish for Aran and Mrs G when Aran was injured and could not fish for his family.

Here is the link to this wonderful story of a community helping these amazing birds.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/fish-for-hungry-baby-eagles-1.6121415

No one will ever hire me to be a wildlife photographer! I have a large lens that intimidates me at times but, after today, there will be another trip north to one of our provincial parks to take Osprey pictures ‘properly’.

This is the marshy wetland in front of the Osprey nest. There were lots of pelicans who did not want me to take their picture!

There is a mother and her two chicks in the nest. The mother is leaning down. Before I could get my camera ready the Dad had delivered a fish and left. My goodness. When this mother and the chicks saw the fish delivery getting closer, they were so loud that you could hear them easily 45 metres away.

You can see the profile of the mother better in the image below. The sky is so hazy because of the wildfires and smoke in the area.

This is an area of the park between the West and East entrance gates. This is where the Dad fishes.

Just across the road is this area full of pelicans fishing.

What you are seeing below is an Osprey platform that is unused. It is only about 7 metres from the road leading into and out of the park. The noise of the traffic would be a big deterrent to occupancy – at least to this auntie.

There is going to be camera and lens practice this weekend with a return visit before these juveniles fledge. As it turned out, the images taken with my phone were better than with my small camera. Next week, I will try and be brave when I use that other lens – like the Collins Marsh chick was during the storm.

Tiny Little has evaded me today. Hopefully tomorrow!

Thank you for joining me. It was so nice to get out of the city and get to see and hear the Ospreys that travel here to breed in the summer. It was a gift to see all four of the family today. Take care everyone. Keep sending warm wishes to the Collins Marsh nest. They are certainly working.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Sydney Sea Eagle, Birdlife Australia, and the Discovery Centre and the Collins Marsh Nature Reserve.

WBSE Lady and Dad Sing the Duet

For several days I have been trying to figure out how to get the sound with the video clips I record. It was driving me crazy.

Years ago, I found myself a new faculty member at Acadia University. The very enlightened new President of Acadia was starting a programme called the Acadia Advantage. Each faculty member would get an IBM ThinkPad as would every first year student. The goal was to have all students using the newest technology – the Internet! And it was new. Most people did not have it nor had they heard about it.

I signed up as one of the first 30 faculty members —— not because I was an IT whiz, no, far from it. Because I wasn’t. We had specialist training in Lotus Notes and Tool Box. Several major corporations set up ‘Smart’ classrooms. Students and faculty could plug their computers specialty outlets and actually take their exams on line, search for material, create their own websites. I had one very clever student, WP, who managed to get the OM mantra going at the same time on my desktop computer and my colleagues down the hall. It was rather funny.

When I came to the University of Manitoba in 1999, the art historians were using still slides. They thought I was crazy when I suggested Powerpoint and digital learning. We did not get smart classrooms for art history til when? 2008?

So to not be able to get audio when something was recorded with the audio just simply did not seem possible. If any of you have the same problem with WordPress what you need is another app. FonePaw Screen Recorder seems to be the most popular and it is easy to use. And it is free if your recordings are less than 3 minutes long. My hint for the day!

I wanted to show you Lady and Dad singing ‘The Duet’ yesterday. I could not get the sound. You just needed to see and hear the two bonding through their morning song. Lady did what she did yesterday. She got up incubating the egg and went up and joined her mate, Dad.

So here is this morning’s version straight from the White Bellied Sea Eagle Nest in the Ironbark Tree in Sydney Olympic Park, 22 June 2021 featuring Lady and Dad.

The featured image is Dad taking his turn at incubating the egg while Lady goes off to have some rest and relaxation after being on the nest all night.

To start the video with sound, just click on the arrow. Enjoy.

Thank you to the Sea Eagle Cam, BirdLife Australia, and the Discovery Centre at Sydney Olympic Park for their streaming cam where I took this video clip.

Let’s Talk White-Bellied Sea Eagles

My ‘love affair’ and complete obsession with birds goes back to a single moment looking into the eyes of a large hawk only 30 cm away from me. I have not looked back, as they say, since that day. It is the behaviour of the birds that I find so interesting – the challenges they face, their daily rituals, how they learn and respond to events that simply amazes me.

There had never been a plan to even observe a White-Bellied Sea Eagle nest. It was one of those things that simply happened. The events that unfolded last year on the WBSE nest in the Sydney Olympic Park were utterly inspiring. A chick born, its leg broken almost immediately, couldn’t stand for well over a month that was determined to self-feed, branch, and fledge taught a lot of people that you never give up, you continue to strive for your goals, and you darn well don’t complain. Literally hundreds of people that had mobility issues stepped up and were determined to face their demons and challenges – ‘if 26 can do it, so can I’ became a bit of a mantra. I doubt if another chick will ever take her place in the hearts of so many where she ‘lives now’.

One of the things that 26 loved to do was to sing the duet as dawn broke with Lady and Dad. Oh, how I wish that I knew how to record those mornings then but, I didn’t.

The Duet is a form of bonding. The adults – well, sing isn’t quite the word..honk it?? Lady and Dad do this every morning. It is also a way to wake up the forest, a way of thanking the sun for living through the night and welcoming the day.

Dad is higher up on the branch. Lady has been incubating the egg over night and has gotten upon the branch to do the duet with Dad. I do not have the sound which really bothers me but I love the way that Lady moves up from the nest cup to join Dad.

I have put another YouTube Video of the duet in 2017 below my video non-audio.

So enjoy!

The juveniles join in. I can’t find a clip with WBSE 26 singing with Lady and Dad so right now this one from 2015 will have to do. However, it is wonderful because you can see the beautiful rich plumage of the eaglets.

The juveniles are really beautiful and here is a longer look at WBSE 25 and 26. WBSE 26 – the one who won everyone’s heart for its dedication, has the lighter head and is facing the viewer in the image below.

You can watch the gorgeous White-Bellied Sea Eagles yourself. Lady has laid one egg and we will be expecting a second in about a day. Then she will incubate those eggs and hatch will be around the 23 or 24th of July. It is marvellous to watch these beautiful birds. I hope all goes well this year for them.

The couple have already done their duet – it is early morning the 21st of June in Australia. Remember that if you go to watch this nest! I sometimes forget. These is not much that goes on at night except for Boo Book Owl trying to knock the sea eagles off their branches. Last season Boo injured Lady’s eye. He is tiny but fierce and has a nest close to this one.

Thank you for joining me. Have a great start to the week. Take care.

Thank you to the White-Bellied Sea Eagle Cam, BirdLife Australia and the Discovery Centre in the Sydney Olympic Park for their streaming cam where I took my video clip and screen shots.

Rings and an Egg

The weather at Rutland Water calmed down enough that the two chicks of Maya and Blue 33 (11) could be ringed. Some people call this ‘banding’ but in the UK the common term is ‘ringed or ringing’.

What are Darvic Rings? The Darvic rings are a plastic ring that is fitted to the Osprey’s leg. Normally you can see them from a distance with binoculars or a spotting scope. Different countries use different colours. In the United Kingdom, the bands are blue with white lettering. Scotland places the Darvic ring on the left leg while England and Wales put it on the right. In Spain the Darvic rings are yellow, in Germany they are Black, and in France they are orange. Over time the amount of numbers or letters has changed but there are registries of every bird that is ringed.

The birds are also fitted with a metal ring. It has a unique number and address and is more durable than the plastic ones which can, after several years, break.

Birds are ringed before they are 45 days old. The reason for this is so the specially trained banders do not frighten the birds and cause them to fledge prematurely. Also, the leg will have grown to its adult size. This prevents the ring from getting too tight and injuring the bird. Ringing often takes place when the Osprey chicks are in the 30s – such as 36 days old, etc. At the time of banding the chicks are weighed and measured. Indeed, everything about them is measured!

The two chicks at Rutland Water’s Manton Bay Nest were ringed this morning. The oldest, chick 1, has the number Blue 096. Chick 1 is a male weighing 1540 grams and having a tarsus thickness of 13.6mm. Chick 2 is a female and is Blue 095. She weighs 1650 grams and has a tarsus thickness of 15.6 mm.

Just try getting a good image of the two birds showing both of their bands at the same time! It seems like it has been impossible. Here you can see one of the bands of the chicks – look carefully you will see 095 – chick 2, the female.

Other exciting news is that Lady at the White-Bellied Sea Eagle nest in the Ironbark Tree in the Sydney Olympic Park laid her first egg on the evening of the 19th of June. Hundreds of people cheered watching.

She seemed very uncomfortable and then after the reveal she joined Dad on the branches of the tree.

The White-Bellied Sea Eagle is the second largest raptor in all of Australia. Their wingspan is from 1.8 to 2.2 metres. Females are bigger than the males – reverse sex size diamorphism. She will weight from 2.8-4.2 kg while the male will weight from 2.5 to 3.7 kg. The adults have a white head and belly which you can see in the image above with the most beautiful blue grey wings and beak.

You can see the nest. It is extremely large with an egg cup in the centre. It is made out of twigs which are carefully restored by the eagles every year. Lady and Dad have been working on getting the nest ready for several months now. This nest in the old Ironbark Tree is close to the Parramatta River where the sea eagles fish.

Lady will lay one more egg – what old timers call the ‘insurance’ egg in case something happens to the oldest chick. That will be in 2 or 3 days. She will do all of the incubating at night and Dad will help her during the day. Hopefully, both eggs will be viable and there will be two healthy chicks. Last year both chicks fledged. The oldest, WBSE 25 fledged first and did not ever return to the nest. WBSE 26 fledged, returned to the nest to rest, and then was found on the balcony of a 22nd floor condo after she left the nest for the second time. Right after hatch 26 had its leg broken and it did not heal properly. At the time no one thought she would be able to stand but encouraged by its older sibling, 26 did everything and fledged. Sadly, it was too injured to live in the wild and the veterinary surgeons thought any measures to ‘fix’ 26 would only result in endless pain for the bird. Sadly, 26 was euthanized but not after this gorgeous bird touched thousands of lives.

You can watch the action of the White-Bellied Sea Eagles here:

Ah, quite exciting. Hatch will come in about 40 days.

The White-Bellied Sea Eagle Cam in Sydney, Australia is the only streaming cam following these beautiful birds in the world. They live along the coast of Australia and can even be found in the Singapore harbour.

They are such beautiful birds.

“White-bellied Sea Eagle” by birdsaspoetry is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Thank you so much for joining me today. The action will be gearing up in Australia with the Peregrine Falcons and the Ospreys as well. Lots to come. Take care. Have a great Saturday wherever you are.

Thank you to the LRWT and the Sea-EagleCAM@BirdLife Australia Discovery Centre, Sydney Olympic Park for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots.

Credit for feature image is: “White-bellied Sea Eagle” by birdsaspoetry is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

There is an eagle under there and more stories

The Nor’easter moving up through the eastern United States is having a big impact on birds that are trying to incubate their eggs for a spring hatch. At the Duke Farms in Hillsborough, New Jersey, the female was buried under snow and her mate cut away the snow to help her get out and have a break. Because of the snow that seems to be worsening, I am going to embed the youtube feed here in my blog so that you can check to see that everyone is alive and well after. This Bald Eagle is incubating three eggs that hatched over a period of time from 17 January to 23 January.

The birds of prey really amaze me. Big Red, the 19 year old Red-Tail Hawk at Ithaca was encased in ice and snow several times before being deluged last year trying to incubate and raise her eyases. Laura Cully said, in her always very wise way, “She’s got it under control, don’t worry.” Oh, those words really helped me. Bird Red is not incubating any eggs or trying to feed little one’s, of course, with Arthur’s masterly help, but their nest is getting increasingly full of snow at Ithaca. Big Red should be laying her eggs around the third week in March. Can’t wait! Here is the live feed to that nest:

If you are missing Big Red and Arthur and their little ones, here is a summary of the goings on in 2020. Oh, how I love these birds!

The summary starts with Arthur and Big Red selecting the nest and bringing in more twigs, the two of them incubating the eggs, Arthur taking care of Big Red in a snowstorm and taking his turn and then, the ‘live chipmunk’ along with a whole bunch of prey. Big Red is drenched in rain and blown off the nest. Babies hatch and grow and fledge. If you are just starting to watch bird cams, this is a grew introduction to the life cycle of the eyases.

While the Bald Eagles are getting covered with snow in the northeastern US, it is too hot for the Royal Albatross in New Zealand. The Rangers that work with the New Zealand Department of Conservation installed pipes today so that all of the parents feeding little ones or still incubating eggs are cooled off. Incredible. Hats off to New Zealand for taking such good care of its wildlife.

The camera is focused on Lime-Green-Lime (LGL) and Lime-Green-Black (LGK) and this week old chick who is this year’s Royal Cam Chick. These two are hilarious. Neither one wants to give up taking care of the baby! Parents take turns going out to sea and returning to feed the little one ‘squid shakes’ while the other one keeps it warm and feeds it. Eventually, the little one will be big and old enough to stay on its nest while both parents go out to sea. It is particularly touching the times that the two parents have together – minutes, sometimes an hour to be together, preening and doing sky calls. They truly are gentle giants.

And last, but never least, are the two little ones of Harriet and M15 from the SWFL Eagle Cam in Fort Myers. The little ones developed an eye infection. Because of the two recent deaths of eaglets at Captiva, everyone went into fast forward to get these two off the nest and to the vet. They are enjoying eating rat and quail fed by a veiled attendant with tongs so as not to imprint on humans. And they are gaining weight. But the eye infection, while improving, has not improved completely enough to send them back to their nest. They are hoping soon. Here is the link to the SWFL cam. Keep an eye out. You will see the large cherry picker bring the babies back to their eagerly awaiting parents this week, we hope.

Here is one of the first videos that CROW released. You can see how infected the eyes of the two were and at the end, you can get to see them eating from the tongs. It doesn’t take the place of the parents but these two have a ferocious appetite that has grown in the two days since this video was made.

Image of E17 and E18 courtesy of CROW.

The link is to the main cam. I believe that there are 3 or 4 different cam views.

And the last thing I want to do is to post Phyllis Robbin’s poem that she wrote for Daisy the Duck. So many people joined with us in hoping that Daisy would be able to raise her clutch to fledge. It wasn’t to be but Daisy is alive and well and is paddling in the water near to the Sydney Olympic Park.

Thank you so much for checking in today. Stay safe if you are in the eye of the snow storm pelting the northeastern US and stay cool if you are down in NZ and Australia. See you tomorrow!

Daisy’s great night vision helped her to slip out in the middle of the night!

Daisy left to go foraging at 15:31:45 on a soggy Sydney Friday afternoon. She returned to her eggs at 17:49:49. Two hours and eighteen minutes. Not bad! There was some concern over the wet nest and the cool temperatures but, Daisy knows best!

Like all of her returns recently, Daisy is hyper cautious. She lands on the nest and looks around. Then she listens. We have all seen how the WBSE can arrive in a split second!

Overly cautious when returning from her dabbling.

Daisy even stops to do some preening.

Preening

Then, all of a sudden, Daisy rushes over to get on her eggs. She is a bit of a blur in the image below. Gosh that nest is wet and soggy.

There is plenty of time for the sea eagles or the ravens to return to the nest before the sun sets but, they don’t. Sometimes boring quiet days are the best – even for humans, too!

Daisy settles into incubating.

Not everyone believes that ducks have good night vision. Some people think that birds can only see during the daylight hours – any kind of bird. And if you have bird feeders you will have seen the songbirds arrive at dawn and depart at dusk. Falcons and hawks do that and so do sea eagles. But we have seen Daisy return after dark when the sea eagles have arrived before dusk. And we have watched her leave around 4:00 one morning and return before day break.

Last night Daisy left her nest at 2:45. She tried to cover it up as good as she could but the down is so soggy! She returns forty-five minutes later. Daisy probably took a bathroom break. But again, this solidifies our knowledge that ducks can see when it is very dark. Daisy has been able to freely move around in the forest.

I began to think that she should move any ducklings that do hatch under the cover of darkness while all of their predators are sleeping! Except, of course, BooBook Owl.

Daisy covers her eggs.
Down is wet, some eggs exposed.

You can see in the image above that some of the eggs are exposed. Daisy has done the best ever with that old wet down. Surely the Ravens are asleep and I think that the little owl will not bother them, hopefully. Daisy returns and all is well at her nest.

It is Saturday in Australia. At dawn, the temperature is 21.8 degrees C and they are predicting more showers. However, it should get fairly hot on Sunday rising to 26. This really could be a help in drying out all that down and making it fluffy again.

In the image below, it is 5:30. Daisy is waking up and waiting to see if the sea eagles will fly through the forest trying to catch her. They certainly have done this a few times lately.

Daisy is alert at dawn.

But no one comes. By 7:00 the glow of the morning is spreading across the forest. Daisy is trying to catch some rest. She has her beak tucked under her wing.

Daisy resting.

Wow! Look at the beautiful markings on Daisy’s head and those gorgeous brown eyes.

In the image below, Daisy is rolling her eggs. Remember that Daisy plucked down from her own breast to line the nest and help keep the eggs war. Removing the down creates a bald spot known as the brood patch. This touches the eggs and transfers the heat from Daisy to the eggs so that the duckling can grow. But the eggs cannot simply sit there. They must receive even heat. Daisy uses her bill and her feet to roll the eggs and move them about so that they each receive the same amount of heat. Rolling helps ensure that each of the developing ducklings will hatch at roughly the same time.

Daisy has her beak in the nest turning the eggs and her feet are also gently paddling them. Daisy is such a good mother!

Rolling eggs

It is only 7:30 in Sydney. Wet and cool. So far the WBSE have not ventured into the forest and even the Ravens are not moving about. Let us hope that it is simply a boring day for Daisy!

I will post an update on Daisy’s Day about 11pm CDT. Stay tuned for any happenings during the day. Still, I hope that there is nothing to report.

A big welcome to Daisy’s new fans from Belgium. Our girl is so happy that people around the world care about her plight.

Thank you to Sea Eagle cam, Birdlife Australia, and the Discover Centre for providing the camera so that I could capture the screen shots.

Catching up with Miss Daisy

You will remember from my earlier posting today that our favourite little duck, Daisy, got home to her nest at 19:03. A couple of hours later and not having any evening contact with the mated pair of White Bellied Sea Eagles, Daisy was relaxing. And then BooBook Owl came and scared the wits out of her. She did not leave her nest but she got in defensive posture ready to protect her nest. At first Boo flew low right over Daisy on the nest. It is 20:51:40.

In the image below, Boo is nothing more than a blur as she flies directly over the centre of the big sea eagle nest. She is so close that she almost touches Daisy when she does the fly through.

The blur of BooBook Owl.

Daisy immediately gets into defensive posture. Boo circles the nest flying around the branches, going round and round. It keeps Daisy attentive and moving with the small owl. She always wants to know where the owl is. At 21:06:35 Boo lands on one of the small branches up near the top right corner of the image below. You can see the legs on the branch but not clearly. Look carefully. The left leg appears lighter than the right.

Defensive posture.
Boo moves closer down the branch to have a good look at Daisy.

BooBook Owl finally decides to sit closer to Daisy. Now you can see the eyes, the beak and the left leg along with the little owl’s body.

Boo is a nuisance to our Daisy, right now. She is also curious about this little duck in the sea eagle nest. Boo is used to bumping into the eagles in the night often injuring Lady’s eye. Boo is especially aggressive when she has her own nest of babies, November-December, and would love it if she could harass the sea eagles enough to get them to leave the forest. Fat chance on that happening!

BooBook Owl courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Boobook is the smallest owl in Australia. Owls are nocturnal so that is why Boo only pesters Daisy after dark. Boo will hunt all kinds of insects and very small mammals such as mice, small bats, and moths. Boo is about 27-36 cm tall or 10-14.5 inches, and weighs only 140-360 grams or 5 ounces to 12.6 ounces. The wings span ranges from 188-261 mm, or 7-10 inches. In comparison, remember that the White-Bellied sea eagle is the largest bird in Australia with a wing span of 2-2.3 metres, standing 80-90 cm tall and weighing 2.5 to 4 kg. Pacific Black Ducks are approximately 54-61 cm or 21 to 24 inches in length and they weigh 1025-1114 grams or 2.25 to 2.4 pounds. Daisy is bigger than Boo but the most important thing for her right now are her precious eggs and their protection. Boo could make a terrible mess and while the little owl does eat insects and bats along with mice, it might also be interested in Daisy’s eggs.

The sea eagles did not show up this morning. They were at Goat Island and it was raining and windy. Daisy’s morning was, as posted earlier, rather uneventful til she starting listening and raising her neck listening to the vocalizations from the other birds in the forest.

At 9:29 the ravens arrive. You cannot see them but Daisy heard them coming and knows they are about on the nest tree. The little duck immediately goes into a defensive posture. Notice, in the image below, how she has fanned out her tail and she has her feathers puffed up. This makes her look larger.

The Unkindness stay for approximately twenty minutes. Daisy moved as they did, just like she did when Boo was on the nest tree. She always kept her head tucked, her tail fanned, and her other feathers puffed.

As the day wore on, there were periodic showers on the nest. Daisy did some housekeeping, moving leaves closer to the nest in case she needed them for cover.

By noon, Daisy was relaxed and ready to take a wee bit of a rest. She tucks her bill in under her wing for warmth. Instead of being 40 degrees C like it was two days ago, today it is only in the low 20s with showers. What a change in temperature!

Daisy begins sweeping the leaves toward the nest and tucking the now dry down inside. She is preparing to go foraging. It is 13:58:14. This is quite a bit earlier than the last several days.

Daisy has camouflaged her nest well. In with the fluffy down are some leaves and twigs.

Leaves and twigs help hide the nest.

It is now 16:04 and Daisy has not returned to the nest. She often returns around 19:00 or 20:00 right before dusk but when she has left this early she has come back around 16:45. One day Dad had arrived and she had to abort her landing on the nest to avoid him seeing her. I wonder when she will come home today?

Thank you so much for joining Daisy and her adventures in the big sea eagles nest!

Thank you to Sea Eagle cam, Birdlife Australia, and the Discovery Centre for providing the cameras where I did my screen captures.

Daisy ducks!

No sooner than I had posted my last update on Daisy, than the little duck got busy covering her eggs and going to forage. The time was 14:41:26. It is in the normal range of when she leaves the nest. Sometimes she has not returned until dusk because she knows she will avoid the sea eagles. Now that she is getting nearer to hatch, will she stay away that long?

Covering the nest

As she leaves she finds some down that she has missed when restoring her nest. She loosens it from the twigs and pulls it down to the floor of the nest.

This time Daisy has tucked the down and added some leaves at the side. She tried to fold the top onto itself but not getting it tight like she did during the early stages of her incubation. Let us hope that the gusts of wind do not pull the down apart leaving the eggs open to eating or destruction by the Ravens or the Currawongs.

You can compare the next image below to the one right above. Look at the fluffy light down. Looks like it has twinkly stars embedded in it.

Well the rain became heavier and made its way through the canopy of leaves.

There isn’t much difference in the image above and the one below except for the down covering Daisy’s nest. It has begun to rain just a little harder with more of the drops making their way through to the nest. Daisy’s nest looks so wet and so sad without her in it. It is 17:50. Wonder how much longer she will stay away? It is 20.3 degrees and rain is forecast through Sunday.

The protective down gets very wet.

Daisy returned to her nest at 19:03, an hour before sunset. She was a very wet duck! The nest was soaked and the down was a solid wet glob.

Daisy is a little soaked.

Daisy settled in at the task in hand. Daisy was away from the nest for five hours. The sea eagles did not return at dusk. Whew! But, two hours later, once it is dark, BooBook Owl comes to call and scares Daisy by flying from branch to branch.

Ducking!

Daisy flattens herself over her eggs increasing the size of her body and extends her neck. She is in protective mode. Boo bothers her for about a minute and a half and Daisy goes back to incubating her eggs.

The old Ironbark Tree where Daisy’s nest is located.

It is now 7:34 in the Sydney Olympic Park. The heat from Daisy’s body and the wind have dried out the down. The sea eagles did not arrive. They have been spotted at Goat Island. That does not mean that they will not return. It just meant that Daisy didn’t have to scurry from the nest before dawn. A good way to start the day, nice and relaxed.

Daisy and the down have dried. Rain is forecast for today.

It may look boring but a boring, quiet day without any visitors to Daisy is a good day! Let us all hope that it stays that way for her.

Yesterday, some of you noticed that Lady didn’t like the down. It looked like is was sticky. Now we know that sea eagles do eat birds so, Lady would be very familiar with feathers. But she might not know about eiderdown. This is what I was told from someone very familiar with ducks and geese, “Cling is an attribute of eiderdown and very mature goose down, also known as”sticky down”. “Cling” is found when tiny hooks develop on the individual filaments of a down cluster”. I immediately thought of Cling film that we pull over bowls and things to keep food fresh. It sticks to itself and to the bowl. Well, that is precisely what Daisy’s down did to Lady. It must cause Lady a lot of confusion. And, you know what? That is OK. I know that this is Lady’s nest where she raises her eaglets. But Daisy is not a threat to the sea eagles or their babies. Yes, she chose their nest but this might have been because she lost all of the ducklings in her first brood this season and she wanted to see if this nest might help see some of them to hatch. I know that each and every one of you are cheering our little duck forward.

One of Daisy’s fans also sent a video for all of you to watch. A Mandarin duck made her nest on the balcony of an apartment twenty-stories up from the ground. It is an amazing video showing how the people of this city came together to help the ducklings. Have a look!

Daisy wants to thank all of her friends wishing her success. People have joined her from Canada, the United States, Australia, Mexico, Poland, Croatia, China, the United Kingdom, and Brazil. Check back for updates. We are getting closer and closer to hatch!

Thank you to Sea Eagle cam, Birdlife Australia, and the Discovery Centre for providing the camera for the screen captures.