Friday in Bird World

The Lost Words is a book by Robert MacFarlane, Fellow at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. Its focus is on the words that the editors of the Oxford Children’s Dictionary removed. Its 128 pages, 27.9 x 37.6 cm in size, are gorgeously illustrated with the watercolours of Jackie Morris, writer and illustrator, who lives in Pembrokeshire, Wales. The missing words that concerned MacFarlane are the following: acorn, Adder, Bluebell, Bramble, Conker, dandelion, fern, heather, heron, Ivy, Kingfisher, Lark, Magpie, Newt, Otter, Raven, Starling, Weasel, Willow, and Wren. At a time when our focus as adults should be to strive to install the wonder of the natural world and our responsibility to it in the children, why, then, would anyone choose to remove words that are directly connected with our environment.

I mentioned this book awhile ago. I have returned to it many times always admiring the illustrations, such as the images of the Ravens on the forest floor amongst the fallen conkers. Conkers are the fruit of the Horse Chestnut Tree, Aesculus hippocastanum. Horse Chestnut trees can grow quite large. Ironically, the conkers are poisonous to horses and I believe, all other animals. The type of poison is called esculin.

That illustration conjured up a beautiful memory of the time my family spent in England. Up on the gorse was a Conker Tree. We had never seen conkers – it was something wonderful and new. The children played a game with them. First you had to drill a hole and run a cord through the conker and secure it with a nice big knot at the bottom. The children would then ‘conk’ their conkers trying to see whose would break first! It was free entertainment and kept them busy for hours.

“Conkers on a string” by MrsEds is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Creative Commons had this historical picture of two young lads trying to break the others’ conker.

“Its conker time” by theirhistory 

The rolling hills with their public paths were marvellous places for the children and the adults to take walks and breathe in the air. We were fortunate to have a ‘gorse’ within 50 or 60 feet from where we lived. It was full of butterflies and birds and the most delicious blackberries. It was a time when children played outside with their mates. No one set in front of the telly or spent hours looking at screens. Bikes were ridden and trees were climbed. In the three years we lived in Lincolnshire, it snowed once. There was about 4 cm on the ground – just enough. Still, everything stopped. Children stayed home from school and anything and everything that could be used as a sled was used to slide down the hills of the gorse. I wonder what all those children would think about the snow in my garden today?

The nice thing about snow is that it can cause people to slow down. To enjoy a cup of hot tea and a book. To stop running around worrying about things that are not always that important, to pause long enough to take in the moments.

It seems like it is rather quiet in Bird World but, is it really? Eaglets are growing bigger by the day all the while their plumage is changing. Thankfully, none are ready to fledge. E19 and E20 spend time flapping their wings as does the Osceola eaglet. Other eagles are incubating eggs. It is not time for Osprey season unless they are in Florida. Diane is incubating 3 eggs at Achieva in St Petersburg while Lena, laying hers a month early at Captiva, will be on hatch watch this weekend. Annie and Grinnell are only dreaming of eyases. Today Grinnell had to tell a 2 year old juvenile female to get off the ledge of The Campanile. Cal Falcons posted a video of that encounter.

Ervie continues to fish call off the barge at Port Lincoln. We can hear him but we cannot see him.

Kincaid is 29 days old today. He is starting to walk. It is so cute to see those first ‘baby steps’. Louis brought in what looks like an egret (or a part of an egret). When it looked like Louis might want to eat some of it, Anna promptly arrived at the nest. To Anna, prey brought to the nest belongs to her and Kincaid, not Louis who brought it! Anna is pretty strict in that regard. Not all female Bald Eagles behave that way. Anna proceeded to try and remove one long leg while Kincaid, with an already large crop, waited patiently.

Kincaid is mimicking what Anna is doing as he grabs the other leg and pulls on it. So cute. Kincaid also keeps himself busy moving around nesting material. These little eaglets learn from watching the adults.

Kincaid is already making attempts at self-feeding.

Kincaid is, of course, not the only one trying out eating by itself. I posted an image of R2 at the WRDC nest a week ago eating a fish. The eaglets of Harriet and M15 are also attempting eating on their own. E20 has become a bit of a pro. It seems like all of the eaglets grew up faster than they have ever done previously. Does it seem that way to you?

At the White-tailed Eagle nest of Milda and her new mate near Durbe, Latvia, the snow has melted. Milda will be laying her eggs about the same time as Big Red in Ithaca, New York – the third week of March – if all goes to plan.

There is more snow forecast for Big Red’s territory. The temperature in Ithaca is 1 C.

What I like about the image below is that you can see the nest cup area that Big Red and Arthur have been working on. In Milda’s nest sprigs of pine with their cones line the area of the egg cup. It is so fascinating watching the couples prepare for the upcoming breeding season. It is so intriguing. I would love to ‘speak hawk’ and sit by Big Red and Arthur when they discuss what needs to be done!

At least five eagles poisoned, one dead, four in serious condition in Manchester Maryland. Was this lead poisoning? or was this something else more sinister to impact all of the birds at the same time? There is an investigation underway.

Here is a short informative video of why eagles eat carrion in the winter.

https://fb.watch/b6jnYJByKa/

There is good news coming out of Australia about WBSE 27. You might remember that twice, after fledging, 27 was taken into care. 27 was not taught by the parents to take care of itself. Once 27 fledged, it was taunted and chased by the Pied Currawong. Both times 27 was extremely dehydrated. The last time the Currawong had gathered and had pecked 27s head. When 27 was taken into care the last time, I hoped that rehabilitation would include flight training as well as training for getting prey. This takes longer than a two week stay in a clinic. Some wildlife rehabbers keep birds for 2 years to make certain they are capable of caring for themselves with confidence. It looks like 27 is getting that great training. The news is excellent!

Isn’t she lovely? And – yes – 27 is a she!

I wish that all of the sea eagles that fledge from the WBSE nest in the Sydney Olympic Park would not be harangued by the Pied Currawong. They chase them out of the forest. They never learn to fly or to catch prey. How many of them survive, if any, unless they wind up in care?

The camera is now working again at Port Lincoln. Ervie was on the nest and, at various times, in the shed with Dad. Sometimes he was in the shed alone. I cannot tell you if he had a fish but there was definitely a lot of fish calling.

Checking in on Jack and Diane at the Achieva Credit Union Osprey nest and Jack is busy delivering fish and helping incubate the eggs.

If you are into garden animals and song birds, with a few surprises, you might want to check out Wildlife Kate. She has several wildlife cams and is featured on Springwatch in the UK. Have a look. You might find something really interesting like Yew Pond, or the Kestrel Box, or the Woodland Pond.

This is Woodland Pond. The cameras are live with no rewind. Enjoy.

https://www.wildlifekate.co.uk/

I haven’t posted anything about the eaglet at Berry College for a few days. Thermal down is coming in nicely. Pa Berry did a great job feeding the little one this morning. B15 is still walking around on its tarsus (not yet with its feet) and doing a lot of preening. B15 is doing great. Missy and Pa Berry are doing a great job raising this baby.

B15 is a sweet little eaglet. You can see how its plumage is beginning to change.

I will leave you with a gorgeous image of Jackie incubating her eggs at Big Bear Bald Eagle nest in California. Fingers crossed for a great season for her and Shadow!

Thank you so much for joining me today. Take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Friends of Big Bear, Achieva Credit Union, Wildlife Kate, Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, Berry College, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, KNF, Latvian Fund for Nature, and Sea Eagle Cam FB Page.

Late Monday in Bird World

For now NE26 is an ‘only child’. NE27 is steadily working its way through the hard shell that has enclosed it for the past 35 days.

Will 26 be a brute of a big sibling or a sweetheart…we wait.

NE26 is really cute and fluffy. I did notice that the tiny pick at the end of the egg tooth seems to be gone. That beak will grow, just like our finger and toe nails. Any remaining bits of the egg tooth will be gone by the time the eaglet is losing its furry light grey down and switching it for its darker charcoal coloured thermal down.

As the sun sets on Samson and Gabby’s big stick nest, NE26 is having a late meal while NE27 continues breaking that shell. Hopefully by tomorrow morning we will have a new fluffy baby in this nest.

Someone asked me about the large stick nest of Jackie and Shadow at Big Bear Lake. Do the eagles have anything to line the nest that is soft besides sticks? That is a great question.

Today, Shadow was incubating the egg. Anyone that has watched this nest knows that the eagles bring in huge twigs. Just compare Jackie and Shadow’s nest with Gabby and Samson’s above. The eagles have to use what is available to them. Gabby and Samson along with Harriet and M15, Ron and Rita, Connie and Clive, and Lena and Andy favour lining their nests with Spanish Moss. That is what is available to them. Looking out over the landscape of northern California there is, of course, nothing like Spanish Moss. Conifer needles are wonderful when they are fresh but anyone who has gotten pricked by one of their dry needles instantly knows why they do not line the nest with them. According to Peterson, the type of nest that Bald Eagles create are platform nests made of sticks and twigs. In terms of the nest placement, it will be at the top of the tree where the branches are stronger and larger as opposed to being on lower branches. The eagles will re-use their nest adding to it every year. Some nests weight are estimated to weight up to a metric tonne or 2200.04 lbs. The vantage point allows the eagles to have a full view of their territory and any incoming predators. Peterson says that they line the nest with feathers and greenery.

As many of you know, Jackie and Shadow have had challenges. I hope their eggs are strong and they fledge a very healthy chick or chicks. I have not seen any announcement (yet) of a second egg but stay tuned for news tomorrow!

All of the other birds are doing fine. E19 and E20 ate a bird and 2 fish. The KNF eaglet has had its multiple feedings of fish. The eaglet at Berry College seems to be fine after scares that its wing was injured after being stepped on yesterday. R1 and R2 have eaten. The parents have slowed down the feedings and some watchers were worried. You will notice that once the eaglets have their thermal down and are getting feathers, the number of feedings decreases but there is more food at a feeding. The eagle parents know what they are doing! I would only be worried if there was a shortage of prey. Speaking of prey. I think Samson at NEFlorida has heard all of the praise for Louis in Louisiana who is known to have 10 fish on the nest at one time. Today, it looks like Samson has 5, at least. Gabby is quite pleased!

An ex-library book came in the post two days ago. It is Mark Avery’s A Message from Martha. The extinction of the Passenger Pigeon and its relevance today. This book tells of Martha, a Passenger Pigeon, who died on 1 September 1914 in the Cincinnati Zoo between noon and 13:00. Martha was the last Passenger Pigeon in existence. At one time there were millions of Passenger Pigeons. They lived in a distinct geographical area of the United States and ate a specific food, mast from the Beech and Oak trees.

Avery worked for the RSPB for over 25 years. He is a scientist, a naturalist, and a writer who is concerned about the impact of modern day farming, the landscape, and the extinction of our birds. Avery is a very descriptive writer who helps you visualize hundreds of thousands of birds flying through the sky making it dark or how their process of eating mast is like a contemporary combine-harvester. The most birds I have seen at one time are the evening gatherings of the Canada Geese during migration. It helps to have seen that but to go from millions of birds to only one living one is frightening. We all know that if we do not do something, there will be more Marthas. Avery traces everything that is known about these plentiful birds and what it was that led to their demise. The book is not doom and gloom. We cannot bring back the Passenger Pigeon but we have to be on alert creating new partnerships with nature so that everything can survive in harmony. Avery provokes us to think about what it would be like without birds and what we can do to make sure that what happened to Martha does not happen to others. I highly recommend it! It is available as a Kindle book but also, if you like to hold a book and turn the pages, used through several outlets.

Ervie was on the nest this morning. The camera had been off line and it is impossible to know if he had a fish earlier. Ervie will spend even less time on the barge. Port Lincoln has posted his latest tracking and Ervie is getting his mojo back. Whatever happened on that trip to Sleaford and Tulka is dissipating and Ervie is returning to his old wandering, curious self.

Here is Ian Falkenberg’s (the bander) report on Ervie:

There is other good news coming out of the Australia streaming cams – Daisy the Duck has not laid a clutch of eggs on the WBSE nest. It is 25 January in Australia. Daisy visited on 1 January. Let’s all hold our breath that she is safe somewhere incubating a cup full of eggs!

Trudi Kron posted a video of the Hilton Head Island eaglets of Mitch and Harriet’s. They are both eating well. Watch to see that one of them is thinking about taking some bites out of the fish on its own! I really appreciate this video because you cannot rewind on the camera. Both eaglets were full to bursting!

Thank you so much for joining me for our evening nest check. Take care of yourself! See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen capture: NE Florida Bald Eagle and the AEF, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, Port Lincoln Osprey Project and FB Page, and Friends of Big Bear Eagle Cam.

Daisy the Duck returns to WBSE Nest

Around 05:40 on the 15th of January, Daisy the Pacific Black Duck flew alone to the big Ironbark Nest in the Sydney Olympic Forest. It has been precisely two weeks since her previous visit. The nest is no stranger to Daisy who has laid two clutches of eggs here only to have them taken and eaten by Ravens.

There is her head behind the branch. She has just landed.

Daisy will spend a total of 9 minutes on the nest listening and looking.

She checks out all directions.

She listens again. I adore Daisy and I want her to be safe and have her ducklings in a nest where there is some possibility of success. This nest is doomed.

It is unfortunate that neither the Ravens nor the White-bellied Sea Eagles were present. That might have stopped Daisy from considering this site for her next clutch.

It is good to see you are alive and well, Daisy, but please find another spot for your precious eggs!

Under normal circumstances the WBSE would be checking on the nest frequently during this time of the year. Their attendance has been mired by the Pied Currawong and I have hoped that someone insightful might put up an artificial nest for the WBSE down by the Parramatta River Roost similar to the one built for Ron and Rita by the WRDC in Miami.

We wait.

Thank you for joining me on this quick posting about our favourite duck, Daisy!

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

It’s three for Ron and Rita and other news from Bird World

Ron and Rita welcomed R3 early this morning. It appears that R3 hatched around 07:58. Notice also how Rita puts her beak at the tip of R1’s beak when it is wanting to peck R2. Very interesting.

Here is a very short video of R3 hatching.

R3 is officially fully hatched at 10:32:01.

Rita is now showing us anything as R1 and R2 look outside the nest cup.

That nest cup is very small. Fingers crossed for this little one to catch up and the older siblings to be kind. There is lots of food and experienced parents.

Congratulations Rita! (and Ron)

I have yet to see Daisy the Duck return to the WBSE nest in the Sydney Olympic Forest since her and her mate came to check it again on New Year’s Day. The Ring-tailed Possum still has its own nest amidst the twigs that have been added to this enormous structure over the years. It was running up and down around the tree last night.

It is hard to see it but if you look at the left side of the ‘V’ branch, it is running down to the bottom of the V and on the nest image, it is running up the other side.

The Port Lincoln Osprey Lads must have a pact. Each one of them gets to spend an entire day on the nest! First it was Bazza, then Falky came the other day, and now it is Ervie’s turn again! Ervie flew in with a piece of fish yesterday and it is believed that he must have caught it himself. However, later, he also received a fish from Dad, the last fish of the day. They have also been diving off the barge – Falky is very good at this and it is wonderful to see them figure out how to fish. We most often do not get this opportunity.

There is Ervie protecting his fish on the nest from any siblings that think they will fly in and grab it.

Falky and Bazza are leaving Ervie alone to enjoy his dinner.

And perhaps by prior arrangement or reservation, Ervie gets to sleep on the nest alone. So when we see that one of them is staying by themselves all day on the nest, we will not worry about them. It looks like they are taking reservations for occupancy! What characters these three boys are.

There are so many things that humans use for one thing that wind up harming anyone that comes near them. Today, let’s look at ‘sticky paper’. Strands of sticky paper used to be common where I live to catch mosquitoes and flies. In France they are still used to catch birds! What horror and today there are used to catch mice and rats. Any bird or animal that gets near this gooey paper will be harmed. This was posted by CROW. The last sentence is not there but they suggest calling your local wildlife rehabber. Do not try to do anything yourself.

The wee ones at Hilton Head are still small and fuzzy but E19 and E20 are growing fast. Today, they are out of the nest cup and sleeping with their head on the sides of the nest. This is a major change for these two. Their pin feathers are also coming in and we can see their little tails starting to grow as their wings get bigger and bigger.

Another possum was just brought on deck for dinner along with the remains of yesterday’s two fish.

Eating and growing make for one very tired E19.

An earlier feeding of fish.

All is well at Harriet and M15’s. The beaking has really slowed down. Let’s hope it stays that way!

We are on egg watch at Big Bear for Jackie and Shadow.

Here is the link to the camera of this favourite Bald Eagle couple. We wish them the best of luck as they struggle to have nestlings up in northern California. It is perhaps the lingering DDT in the area that continually causes the shells of their eggs to be thin or the eggs to be unviable. But, let’s start 2022 off with all your warm wishes. I hope this is their year – they are so dedicated to one another.

Pip watch for those followers of Connie and Clive at the Captiva Bald Eagle Nest this weekend. Hoping that this year is better for Mum Connie and her new partner, Clive. Connie lost both of her chicks to rodenticide secondary poisoning last year. They were Hope and Peace. It was tragic. And, of course, rodenticide, like sticky paper, needs to be banned. Raptors and Cats are the answer to getting rid of rodents.

Here is the link to the Captiva Bald Eagle Cam:

I am trying to find streaming cams for raptors in Japan. In my quest to find a raptor cam in Japan for one of your fellow readers, I have found squirrel cams, monkey cams, cams for traffic and temples, cooking, etc. But I have yet to find a mention of a raptor cam. I will continue my quest but if any of you know of one, please let me know so we can all enjoy. Thank you so much!

The squirrels are adorable!

And the most incredible monkeys and deer but no raptors! This is Awaji Island.

Thank you so much for joining me. It is so reassuring to know that there are so many people, from all of the world, that love the raptors – and all the birds and animals. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following where I took my screen captures: Hilton Head Bald Eagle Cam, SW Florida Bald Eagle Cam and D Pritchett, Friends of Big Bear, Captiva Eagle Cam, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, CROW FB page, Awaji Island Monkey Center, and Yatsugatake Today.

New Year’s Day in Bird World, late edition

New Year’s Day started off wonderfully with the uniting of Annie and Grinnell. Cal Falcons posted a note that the interloper that had injured Grinnell and sent him into rehabilitation on 29 October has not been seen in the past two weeks. It appears that our little Grinnell watched, got stronger, and got rid of him! That is a good thing. Grinnell is far too experienced a mate and knows how to take good care of the eyases – that is invaluable to Annie. I only wish Daisy had a mate half so invested in the eggs and nestlings!

10,600 people have watched Annie and Grinnell ring in the New Year together! Look closely at the image. Notice just how much bigger Annie is than Grinnell. That is reverse sex-size dimorphism – in raptors, the female is normally 30% larger than the male.

These little falcons like to live on the highest buildings so they can have a great view if anyone larger than them should want to arrive at their scrape box. Thousands of years ago they lived on the highest cliffs (some still do in certain geographical regions) but, like other birds they have adapted as humans take over their space. They have adapted to our skyscrapers like this perfect building on the University of California at Berkeley, The Campanile.

Oh, what a beautiful sight first thing in the morning. So happy. This is just such a relief.

The White-Bellied Sea Eagles were up on the branch together to sing the morning duet. They had a rough night of it. They were chased and harassed by the Pied Currawong first. The Curra are the birds that injured WBSE 27 – gathering in a group to fly and hit its head. The Curra are also the birds that chase the eagle fledglings out of the forest before they have learned from Lady and Dad how to fish and survive. I really do not like them and their numbers have grown in the forest over the past few years. They are more than a nuisance. They can be deadly.

As soon as the Curra were in bed, it was not long until BooBook Owl and its mate started their silent attacks. They spent five full hours harassing the WBSE. They are also dangerous. One injured Lady’s eye last year and she could have been blinded.

Here is a video of the attacks with the eagles falling off the branch.

To my knowledge, the WBSE do not eat the hatchlings of either the Curra or the Owls. These little birds just want the big Apex raptors out of the forest and they will do everything they can to accomplish this.

The pair sang The Duet and promptly left the forest. I wonder if there is another nest location for them? The old nest of Dad’s collapsed but there could be other suitable sites.

I made this video clip a few months ago in mid-September. I love the beauty of Lady and Dad singing their song to wake up the forest. Scroll your mouse or tracker over the left hand corner and then click on the arrow to play.

I have never liked this nest because of the Currawongs and now Boo and his family are older and bolder. It is not good for the eaglets who hatch or for Daisy. My eyes in that area tell me that the Ravens have also been coming to the nest to check for eggs every couple of days. So sad. If Daisy does return, I have no hope for her eggs hatching. I just do not want her to get injured if a large number of Ravens would come at the same time.

This morning on the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge Bazza was on the nest when the fish arrived at 08:09. Falky flew over from his perch hoping to get it but Bazza was the clear winner and kicked Falky off the nest! You will remember that yesterday Bazza flew in and took the fish right when Dad brought it in. Bazza is going to be called Bold Bazza for sure. He is getting street smart for sure – all good survival skills.

Here comes Dad with the fish. Bazza can see him and he is prey calling louder and louder.

Bazza is starting to mantle the fish (on the left side of the nest). Mantling is when a raptor spreads their wings over the food item so that others cannot get to it. It is almost like hiding it. Falky is on the right edge of the nest. Ervie is up on the perch and Mum is on the ropes.

What interested me was not Bazza getting the fish or Falky trying to take it but, Ervie’s behaviour. Ervie did not move off the perch. He did not care. He was not hungry. This tells me that Ervie had already been out fishing for his morning breakfast. He will continue to get more and more independent.

E19 was being a bit of a stinker today. His attacks on E20 were frequent and sometimes brutal.

So what do Harriet and M15 do when this happens? Well, often, they will ‘sit’ on the chicks but, at other times, they will do a tandem feeding. That is precisely what happened today. M15 stepped in to help Harriet with the cantankerous two.

Just lovely. Both eating at once. They will learn, over time, that everyone gets fed. No one goes hungry in Harriet and M15’s house.

Ferris Akel held his tour today. Viewers were treated to the sightings of five Snowy Owls at the Finger Lakes Airport.

Snowy Owls are moving south from their home in the Arctic to find food. They mostly eat rabbits, grouse, mice, weasels and small waterfowl and marine birds. Open fields, golf courses, or small airports like this one are perfect for them to find food.

Not far away were what seemed like a thousand Sandhill Cranes. Some were feeding in the fields, some were in the marsh, and some were flying from the fields to the marsh. There seemed to be Sandhill Cranes everywhere!

The adults have grey bodies with a distinctive crimson red cap. Their long legs and necks immediately tell us that these are ‘wading’ birds. They stand 90-122 cm tall or 36-48 inches. They have long pointed beaks for finding food in the muddy waters of wetlands. They also have a ‘bustle’ or tufted tail. You can see those tufts on the cranes in the image below.

The Sandhill Cranes migrate during the winter leaving their summer feeding grounds in the Arctic and Northern Canada in large groups. They will gather in the thousands in staging areas.

With their long beaks they probe in the waters feeding on plant tubers, roots, seeds, and small invertebrates. In the image below you can see how their long legs and neck really assist them in finding food.

Oh, these cranes are so gorgeous. Sandhill cranes have been the subject of Japanese art for centuries. They are a traditional symbol of immortality because it is believed that the cranes live for a thousand years.

The panel below is called Cranes in a Winter Landscape. This is clearly a good wish for longevity.

The screen below is part of a series of two six-panelled screens done in the 1700s. Typically the backgrounds would have been painted gold. Both the old twisted pine and the crane signal immortality or wishes for a long life. These would have typically folded and divided rooms.

Thank you so much for joining me. Stay warm, stay safe. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures and video clips: SWFlorida Bald Eagle cam and D Pritchett, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, UC-Berkeley Falcon Cam, and Ferris Akel.

Everyone’s favourite Duck and Falcon are back!

The last time we saw Daisy the Pacific Black Duck was when she returned to the White-Bellied Sea Eagle nest on the 23rd of December. She brought Mr Daisy with her to show him that her eggs were missing or destroyed. Daisy pushed all her down into the egg cup after walking all around the nest quacking. She arrived at 20:22:52 and left at 20:34:56. My heart broke for Daisy that day. After dealing with the possum in the early morning and the rain, Daisy was forced to leave for her morning break late. It just happened that three Ravens decided to venture out early that day. Daisy returned to her fertilized eggs missing or broken. She was frightened and confused.

This was the second time that Daisy had attempted hatching ducklings on this nest. The previous time had been in January of 2021.

Now, on 1 January 2022, Daisy and her mate have returned. When the eggs are broken, the intermission between then and the ducks mating again can be as little as ten days. It has been 9 days.

If Daisy decides to use the WBSE nest again, and it appears that she will, January will be complicated because Lady and Dad, the Sea Eagles, will be spending more time at the River Roost and more time checking on their nest.

The Sea Eagles will not be a direct problem. They might pull all the down off the eggs and might break one but they had no interest in destroying the eggs before. No, the predators are the Ravens.

If only Mr Daisy would step up and help!

Daisy arrives.

Mr Daisy arrives.

Our beautiful Daisy.

I had so hoped that she might try her luck down on the ground.

And so, we all realize the worst but hope for the best for this precious little duck that just wants to be a Mum.

There will be a lot of sleepless nites and tears. Get the tissues ready! Here are 2 video clips of Daisy and Mr Daisy arriving and inspecting the nest.

Another big surprise and a most welcome one is the return of Grinnell to The Campanile today. Here is the video clip of that moment:

Wow. Two huge surprises. I have to say that I am more than delighted to see Grinnell up on the ledge of the area that him and Annie use to raise their chicks at The Campanile on the grounds of UC-Berkeley. This is just fantastic. On the other hand, I do wish that Daisy had a safe place to lay her eggs so that she could experience the hatching and the leading of her little ones to the water. I cannot think of anything that would make all of us happier.

Thank you so much for joining me. I am thrilled to bring you this news. Take care. See you soon! Wonder what else is in store for us?

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures and video clips: Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park and UC-Cal Falcons. I also want to thank ‘P’ for alerting me to Daisy’s return. I would have missed it otherwise.

Daisy and the Unkindness

It has been a day of great heartbreak with Daisy losing her eggs to the Unkindness. Although she will never know the thousands of people who were quietly (or loudly) cheering her on. As ‘B’ in the UK says, ‘She was doing so good.’ She was. This morning Daisy did not like the rain hitting her bill and head. She would toss her head about trying to get the drops off. She had puffed her feathers so that they would cover the down on the nest so it would not get wet. Whether the showers contributed to Daisy deciding to leave late, we will never know. And will will never know if it was the end of the showers that prompted the Ravens to come to Daisy’s nest in the hope she would be away.

Last season some wondered if Daisy’s eggs were fertile. This year we could tell that they were. Some old timers reviewing Daisy’s incubation – she stayed on the eggs for most of the day before she finished laying the 8th egg – felt looking at the one egg that Daisy flew away with that hatch could have been 10-11 days away. It was not to be.

Daisy returned to her nest at 07:50:02 to find her nest and eggs destroyed. I simply cannot imagine how she must have felt seeing that precious down scattered all over the nest – and then to see some egg shells – and one large portion of an egg. It was immediately clear that there had been a duckling developing in that egg – it was not simply a yolk. Daisy gathered up that portion of an egg and flew off the nest with it at 07:51:10. Six minutes later at 07:57:19, Daisy returns to the nest.

On this return, Daisy surveyed the entire nest. She found some shells, she went to the rim of the nest where she normally flies off, and hesitates. It is 07:59:07. She goes back near the egg cup. Daisy gathers some of the down and looks for more shells. At 08:07:21 Daisy again walks over to the rim of the nest. She stands looking out for nearly a minute. At 08:08:19 she goes back to the nest cup. At 08:08:27 Daisy lays down on the nest cup. She begins tucking and rolling – it would have been easy to imagine that the Ravens might have missed some of the eggs due to our little duck’s behaviour.

Daisy continues to gather up down, tucking, and rolling what would have been eggs with her strong legs and webbed feet.

While Daisy was on the nest, there were periods where she froze just like she would do when the Ravens came on the nest. I have three separate incidents and there could have been more. One instance was 17 minutes long.

Daisy flew off the nest in the old Ironbark Tree for the last time at 09:10:45.

I wish I could look at the nest and pretend Daisy is just off foraging.

As I am reminded, the odds against Daisy hatching these ducklings was only 15%. This season was so different. Daisy was not playing tag with Dad, the White-Bellied Sea Eagle. Indeed, the Sea Eagles had visited and paid no mind they were so busy with the Pied Currawong attacking them. There was then this hope that developed especially since Daisy so valiantly defended her nest against the Ravens twice.

Daisy might begin laying eggs for her second clutch in 47 days. The laying of eggs and the incubation period really puts demands on the body of the hen. It takes some time for her to regain her health in order to begin the process over again. There are only two clutches per season.

It has been a difficult year for each of us. Your list will be different than mine but mine began first with the loss of Malin, then K2 Big Red and Arthur’s second hatch, then ‘Little 4’ of 367 Collins Street Falcons, and last but not the least of them, Yurruga at the Orange Falcon scrape. There were, of course, others – the Finnish Ospreys and their Mum, Milda’s two chicks…the list grows longer thinking about it.

Take some time to breathe. Daisy was a remarkable duck and we all began to believe that she would overcome the odds. I have asked a friend who is often down by the Discovery Centre to find Daisy and send us a picture if she would. It would give us each some closure to see Daisy in her element paddling around and eating.

Thank you to everyone that wrote to me. It is so touching that so many people care about this wonderful duck. It will take me some time to answer each of you but, I will. For now please take care of yourselves.

Thank you to the Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots and video captures.

The Daisy Chronicles, Day 20 The Raven Came

I had no more than posted my last blog thinking that the rest of the day would be quiet like the beginning. That changed with the arrival of a single Australian Raven at 18:08:21. You could hear it before you could see it. Daisy froze!

The cawing was singular so it was only one Corvid on the nest. In the distance there was, at one time, what sounded like another Raven. To my knowledge it never flew to join the other Raven in the branches of the Ironbark Tree.

Daisy keeps her bill under that one twig – not moving. I once saw Little Woodpecker cling to a suet holder for 45 minutes when Sharpie, the Sharp-shinned Hawk was sitting on a branch under it pretending to be a bird feeder. Little Woodpecker was terrified. You could tell it only from his eyes.

Daisy is quick. The Raven flies over to the branch. She turns quickly so that she can keep an eye on it.

At one point the Raven hid behind the big branch. you can see its tail on the right. Did it think Daisy would think it was gone? and move off her eggs?

Daisy lunges and the Raven moves to the other larger branch to the right.

Daisy knows the Raven is still in the tree. Every once in awhile it will make a very eerie sound.

Daisy watched and listened. She did not relax until 16:21. That was a total of 13 minutes.

Whew! I must remember not to take anything for granted. Our brave little duck is doing the absolute best that she can.

The weather forecast for Daisy is not good. There is a 40% chance of rain beginning shortly. It looks like there are chances of showers increasing to 70% probability after midnight. There could be a thunderstorm around 10:00 tomorrow morning. Sadly Daisy might not be able to stay dry. It looks like there could be showers on and off for the next week.

Thank you for joining me. We forget what a challenge laying the eggs, incubating them, and then finally the hatching is for Daisy. She is just doing so well that sometimes I need a good reminder that this is not easy. Send her all your good energy! I certainly am. She is very brave despite being frightened.

And if you want to know what this might look like should those eggs hatch, here is a cute little video of a female Mallard and her ducklings – from hatch to freedom. OK. The distance is very different but these fuzzy yellow ducks are so cute and look how their Mum knows when one of them is missing. It is amazing —– and they don’t have a 75 foot jump!

Thank you to the Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park for their streaming cam where I took my screen captures.

The Daisy Chronicles, Day 20

Daisy flew off the nest – very early – at 02:56:25 for her early morning foraging trip. She did not return until 07:05:08. It was an anxious time waiting for her to fly back to the nest. Sunrise was at 05:38. As always, I worry about the Ravens. They are such intelligent birds. They know there are big delicious eggs in that nest and they want them. So far they have flown by or landed on the upper branches of the Ironbark Tree in the Sydney Olympic Forest checking to see if Daisy is there. The Ravens do have a routine – arriving between 08:30 and 10:00 – but, that is not to say they would not come early!

To my mind, Daisy has had an unusually quiet day after returning to the nest. She has moved leaves, shifted back and forth turning the precious eggs over, and she has slept.

The cam operator has checked a couple of times and the Sea Eagles are not at the River Roost – but, we should all remember that anything can change in an instant.

The camera operator has also given us some really nice close ups of our adorable duck!

It is now almost 16:00. All is well. It has been such a quiet day. Sometimes all you could hear was the hum of the camera and the traffic. It almost seemed like all the birds had left the forest! We will take it. Hopefully the remainder of Day 20 will be completely uneventful! She has one more foraging trip. I will report on that tomorrow.

Before I close, Judy Harrington has given an update just minutes ago on WBSE 27: December 22 latest report on SE27 – a Seasonal message. “SE27 is doing as well as can be inspected for the short time she has been in care. She is building up her confidence and her weight and when the weather clears will be moved into the larger flight aviary.” I think she meant ‘expected’ not inspected. It is wonderful to hear 27 is improving. I hope that when 27 leaves it has the confidence that Iniko has!

Thank you so much for joining me today. It is so nice to have so many people sending their love and positive energy to this darling little duck. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Forest.

The Daisy Chronicles, Day 19 late-20

It is after lunch in Sydney, Australia and Daisy is fast asleep incubating her eggs. The morning has been quiet.

Daisy has 8 eggs in her clutch that she has been hard incubating. Daisy laid egg 1 on 3 December nest time. The 8th egg was laid on 10 December. She began hard incubation on 10 December if not December 9. Today is 22 December – the summer solstice – for Daisy. Daisy has been incubating her eggs for 13 days. Hatch will be 3-6 of January in Australia should the eggs survive.

Daisy really had a quiet afternoon. I could see nothing happening. The cam operator checked several times to see if the WBSE were at the River Roost but they were not.

As I remind everyone, there is no reason to believe they would do anything to Daisy from their behaviour last year which was curiosity about the down and Dad going into territorial protection wanting to catch who was using his nest. He was mesmerized by the eggs and at one time everyone thought he might incubate them. It was like he went into some kind of a ‘trance’ — seeing eggs in that place immediately reminded him of Lady’s eggs. It was quite interesting behaviour. He finally broke one but he did not like the taste. I am hoping that he remembers that if he scares Daisy off the eggs again this year.

Throughout the afternoon, Daisy kept gathering up leaves that she could see. She would stretch her long neck and pick them out from under the twigs. You could hardly see her on the nest when the shadows crossed over where the egg cup is located.

Every once in awhile she would see a piece of a leaf and pull it towards her using her bill as a kind of shovel.

Daisy began to cover the eggs around 18:03.

Daisy flies off the nest at 18:03:18 for her evening meal content that her eggs are covered enough to keep predator’s eyes away from them.

It is almost precisely two hours before sunset. Daisy is taking a chance that the Ravens will not come this time of the evening! On the other hand, the Sea Eagles might and that would be a good thing if she were not on the nest. Remember Lady was chased by the Currawong and was so busy watching them so they would not hit her head that she landed on the nest, honked a few times and flew off – she didn’t even look at the nest bowl and see the down. Oh, Daisy is lucky.

Daisy returned at 20:25:39.

It was – what appears to be – a relatively quiet day and evening for Daisy.

I was surprised, however, when Daisy prepared to leave the nest at 02:56:25. I say surprised because of the visit by the Bushtail Possum in the wee hours of the morning before.

I was even more surprised when Daisy walked straight forward, instead of taking the right turn she normally takes, to fly off. It then occurred to me that Daisy might begin to check places to leave the nest for the ducklings to follow. Could this be why?

She flew off the parent branch. Maybe it is a cleaner drop? If you look at the side she normally flies from there is a large piece of the nest with all its bits and pieces of twigs and branches extending out that the little ones might get caught in.

Sunrise is at 05:41.

Daisy returns from her foraging at 07:05:08.

The solstice is upon us. It is ‘winter’ in the Northern Hemisphere and ‘summer’ for Daisy in the Southern. It is the longest ‘dark’ day for us or the longest ‘light’ day for Daisy. In Canada, we look for the light that each day stays with us a little longer. The word Solstice comes from the Latin meaning the time when the ‘sun stood still’. Today, the sun is at its most southern position from Earth. It seems to stop and stand still at the Tropic of Capricorn only to then reverse its direction. It is a turning point in the seasons. It is a symbol of the Earth’s rebirth.

Wishing the rebirth of the sun to fill your lives, your home, your garden, and your heart with warmth and happiness…. Happy Winter Solstice to each of you. And to Daisy, our most favourite adorable duck, Happy Summer Solstice. We wish you an uneventful, boring day.

Take care everyone. Thank you so much for joining me. I will continue to monitor Daisy throughout the day with a brief posting later today on the day’s events. Take care. See you soon!

Note: Congratulations to Samson and Gabby on their second egg which was laid yesterday at the NE Florida Bald Eagle Nest.

Thank you to the Sea Eagles @Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots.