White-Bellied Sea Eagles have an Empty Nest

It was not the way the morning should have started. When we think of fledging, most of the time we recall juveniles reaching a certain age and flying out from the nest on their own. Sometimes it does not go to plan. Many are actually forced out by intruders. We will never know, for example, what larger bird of prey forced Malin (the Osplet at Collins Marsh) to fledge causing its death. Other times the birds fludge like Izzi last year when he went to sleep on the ledge and fell out of the scrape box. Izzi was lucky. He had a guardian angel to get him back to safety. Malin did not.

Today, WBSE 27 and 28 got up and 28 seems to have snagged the morning breakfast delivery. I don’t know what it is with eating and early morning air but young raptors seem to become energized. That is precisely what happened to 28, the youngest. It started flapping its wings and jumping around the nest. Meanwhile, 27 was minding its own business on one of the parent branches. 28 decided to fly up to where 27 was. It was at that moment that I remembered Big and Little at Duke Farms last season. Both were on the branch and one of the birds wanted on the other side and they both fludged. Theirs was a happy ending but that wasn’t know for a few days. Both made their way back to the nest to be fed by the parents for some time. That is the way it is supposed to happen. Well, it is unclear about WBSE 28. He fell off the nest.

Here is a sequence of still images showing the build up to the fludge. In the first one, 27 is on the branch and 28 is still eating.

28 begins to flap and jump.

Look at those beautiful wings.

27 flies up to the branch.

At 07:22:02 WBSE 28 almost took both of the birds off the nest. He fell to the left. You can see his wings. WBSE 28 composes itself on the branch.

Meanwhile the cam operator searches the ground for WBSE 28.

Almost immediately the Pied Currawong begin their relentless attack on WBSE 27.

There were three Pied Currawong taking turns at WBSE 27. You see it is in their best interests to keep these sea eaglets out of the forest despite the fact that I have never seen a WBSE eat a Pied Currawong. They certainly might want to start doing that. This is not the first time these birds have rushed a sea eaglet to fledgling and flying out of the forest never to return. They did the same thing last year.

27 does well honking and spreading its wings in a defensive manner. It had to be frightened.

At one point 27 flew at the Currawong.

WBSE 27 off the nest at 8:33:56.

One of the Sydney Sea Eagle chatters caught WBSE 27’s fledge and made a video clip of it. 27 flew to the branch by the camera tree. You can see it in the clip. It was a beautiful first flight. You can also see 27 flying out of the forest to the left.

There are many types of fledges and the anxiousness of WBSE 27 being harassed by the Pied Currawongs – well, you can decide if he flew off the nest because he was frightened or not.

Many believe that when the nestlings fledge, it is a successful season and life goes on. I always wonder what happens to these fledglings. It pulls at my heart and mind to have the Currawong run them out of the forest.

When raptors fledge, many take short flights from the nest returning for up to a month to be fed by their parents until they are just strong enough to fly off on their own. One of the best examples of success in this way were E17 and E18, the two Bald Eaglets of Harriet and M15’s at the Southwest Florida Bald Eagle nest in Fort Myers this year. There on the Pritchett Property the little eaglets were watched – they played in the pond, flew out and returned. They did this for about a month and then, one morning they were gone. By doing short flights from the nest at their leisure, the eagle fledglings imprinted the map back to the nest in their mind. That is not what has happened at the Sea Eagle nest in the Sydney Olympic Forest. Will the eaglets return to the nest to be fed by Lady and Dad? Will Lady and Dad find them and feed them elsewhere? Is 28 tangled up in a tree in the forest? Will anyone rescue it? Where are the foxes? These are my questions. I hope that there is someone – many someones – actively looking for 28. If I hear anything, I will let you know.

The sea eaglets were right within the fledge range. I expected them to fledge any moment. It is unfortunate that 28 fell out of the tree. I do hope it recovered. No reason to think it would not. We will probably never know what happens to WBSE 27 and 28. Sadly, there is no programme for monitoring and tracking. I wish there were like with the Ospreys at Port Lincoln. It would be very interesting to see if they make it away from the nest and find a beach with carrion and other juveniles and survive and thrive.

UPDATE: Ranger Judy Harrington says that no one will be looking for 28 in the forest. It was heard on camera and they believe the Currawong will let them know where it is.

Thank you for joining me this evening. Take care all.

Thank you to the Sea Eagle Cam @Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre.

Catching up with WBSE 27 and 28

The WBSE are both in the 11th week after hatching. With the average of 75-80 days after hatch for fledgling, WBSE 27 and 28 are ready. Their feathers have developed, they have grown, and you can see them getting excited with all the wing flapping and catching air enabling them to rise above the nest.

What are they watching so intently from the nest? Is it a Pied Currawong?

Of course, the Pied Currawong are right there. The Pied Currawong is closely related to the Butcherbirds or the Magpies in Austrlia. They are a medium sized passerine. They have a large black beak with yellow eyes.

Here is a short video of the calls/songs the Pied Currawong make:

The Currawong become more of a menace around fledging time. Their attacks increase in number and they could injure the chicks, knock them off the branches, or chase them out of the forest before they can imprint the route back to the nest in their mind’s GPS system.

Lady was on the nest honking and flapping her wings at the Currawong so the eaglets could finish their lunch. At other times, the eaglets have to learn to defend themselves or hunker down really low in the nest. Because the WBSE are at the top of the ‘food chain’, they will always be followed and attacked by the smaller birds. What do the smaller birds want? They want the WBSE to pack up and leave!

Lady is honking really loud, warning the intruder to leave.

Lady was in the nest much earlier feeding both of her eaglets. Many of you have probably noticed that despite the fact that the nestlings are fully capable of self-feeding, she seems to enjoy feeding them.

The eaglets know to stay alert for intruders while flapping their wings and jumping to stretch their legs.

They honk at the Currawong just like the adults.

The Pied Currawong are very brave. Indeed, their attacks on the almost-fledglings is relentless. Ironically, I don’t believe the WBSE eat Currawong. Sometimes I think that they should rethink that!

Both of the nestlings have branched. They are standing on the parent branch looking around. Soon they will fledge.

It has been a wonderful season for Lady and Dad at their nest. Both of their eggs hatched and both of the nestlings thrived under their care. Both are healthy and fit and we hope that they both fledge successfully, returning to the nest or other areas so Lady and Dad can continue to feed them while they learn to fly better.

We wish them a long and successful life. It has been a remarkable year.

Lady and Dad are ‘honking’ their duet in June. It is a really special way to end another good day!

Thank you for joining me this evening. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the Sea Eagle Cam @ Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre for their streaming cam where I took these screen and video captures.

Dad brought in a whopper

At 8:56:34, Dad brought in a massive fish (despite having eaten his fair share) to the Port Lincoln Osprey Nest.

The image below shows the size of the fish a little better despite much of it hidden under mom. Imagine that the top part is up at her beak where she is feeding one of the chicks to get an idea. Little Bob is in the middle. You can see the white lace on his cere and the black circle on top of his head.

Dad returned at 9:11:33 to see if Mum was finished feeding the chicks. She wasn’t and she did not let him take the fish.

The trio lined up again. Big Bob, who had eaten first, is full and is moving away from the feeding line. She is letting the two younger siblings have their share.

Middle and Little are right in there. Their feathers are growing so quickly. Look along the edge of Little Bob’s wing. They are beginning to look like fringe.

Oh, goodness. Dad is rather anxious this morning. He returns a second time at 9: 28:20.

Mum is still feeding Middle and Little Bob. Oh, and look. Big Bob is waking up again. Is he ready for another round of fish?

You can see that there is still lots of fish left. The chicks have now been eating for 34 minutes and it looks like half the fish is left. Dad is really having a close look. Mum does not give the fish to him, again. She seems to have decided that he is not going to rush her today.

Ah, Big Bob is back up at the end of the line wanting some more. This is such a polite nest. Big Bob does not push his way to the front of the line, she waits.

By 9:29, Mum decides to move the fish around to the other side. Maybe she thought Dad was going to take it. She continues to feed the chicks and herself.

Despite the fact that the chicks have moved so that they can pass out in their respective food comas, Mum continues to feed Little Bob.

Little Bob is ‘stuffed’ and has turned away from any more bites of fish. Mom is doing a good job eating that nice fish near the tail. She needs to eat, too! Dad seems to have nodded off waiting! In the end, I do not think Dad even got a nibble of the tail. We have to remember that he did have a big chunk before he brought the fish to the nest.

The trio and Mum finished off that extra large fish in 47 minutes. Amazing.

Dad brings another fish to the nest at 13:29:38. Everyone is fed and it is not even the middle of the afternoon. This is a good example of how the feedings change. When the three were wee, they needed more feedings with less fish at each one. Now they will eat much more fish but, there will be less feedings. They are really, really growing. Little Bob is 24 days old today while Middle and Big are 26 days old.

Xavier watches from the ledge of the scrape box as Diamond feeds their wee babe. So far there appears to be no pip or crack on a second egg. It is unclear if there is even a pip.

It is the middle of the afternoon and Xavier is again resting on the ledge. He was seen limping and he is probably resting that leg. Instead of Starlings and Parrots, Xavier has been bringing in pigeon which is a much larger prey item. He might have strained his leg when he was hunting.

I also wonder if he can hear the second chick? or if he just wants to be there with Diamond in the scrape? or wants to brood the chick and incubate the eggs?

The waiting must be frustrating for these two. Big Bob (or Only Bob) is poking its head out from under Diamond to the right of the egg. Cute.

At the nest of the White-Bellied Sea Eagles in Sydney’s Olympic Park forest, a Pied Currawong will not leave WBSE 27 and 28 alone. It has been harassing them on and off all day. It is the Pied Currawongs who are intent on chasing the little sea eagle fledglings out of the forest. Normally, eagles fledge and return to the nest for the parents to feed them while they strengthen their flying skills. Many will return to the nest for feedings for up to a month. If they are rushed away, the ‘map’ or return to the nest might not be imprinted in their memory.

27 and 28 are smart. They can hunker down duckling style and watch but the Currawong cannot harm them. These birds can knock them off if they were standing on a branch or injure them if they were standing up.

These two will be branching so soon and then fledging. They can walk and stand and both are self-feeding. We are entering the 11th week. From hatch to fledge for the Australian White-Bellied Sea Eagles is 80-88 days. The median is 83.1.

Here is a video of WBSE 28 stealing the prey from 27. Fantastic!

At the 367 Collins Street Peregrine Falcon scrape, Mum has left the scrape box and is off for a break and to retrieve prey for the eyases. Look at how much room they take up today!

They look like a large white Persian cat if you squint.

Time for your mid-afternoon pigeon everyone!

Dad had it prepared and ready for Mum to bring and feed the youngsters.

Yummy.

The oldest two are getting more hawk like in their appearance.

Except for the Pied Currawong’s harassment, all of the nestlings are doing very well. It is, indeed, a pleasure to be able to watch them grow from hatch to fledge. How fortunate we are!

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: the Port Lincoln Osprey Project, 365 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam at Orange and Cilla Kinross, and Sea Eagle Cam @ Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre.

Gold Star for PLO Dad – again!

It was a gorgeous day to be outside clearing up after the birds and replenishing their feeders and bowls. The gossip around the City is that the Robins are making their way through and stopping over for a bit before heading farther South. I don’t blame them. The wind is hardly blowing, the leaves are now golden, and the sky is blue. It is 24 degrees F. I would enjoy a vacation here if I didn’t live here, too!

It is nasty down in Port Lincoln, Australia. It is 11 degrees with 37 mph winds. Not as bad at the moment as yesterday but, the waves were fairly high and rough a bit earlier. That said I am just gobsmacked by the Port Lincoln Dad. A really nice fish hit the decks of the nest on the barge at 7:00:33. From some of the flapping going on, it appeared to be still alive. Little Bob doesn’t care! He just wants breakfast. I am certain that he currently has no idea of the effort his Dad went to getting that prize on the table.

There is a wee bit of chaos on the nest when the fish arrives. In front, with those lovely light grey stomach markings, and ‘staring’ at the fish is Little Bob. Oh, he does love his fish.

It really helps to get in the right position for Mum to see you. Little Bob keeps his eye on Mum and that fish. He needs to get himself up to the table and Big Bob is in the way.

Ah, Little Bob moves up. He is in the foreground or on the left of the choir but it is not a good place to be. Mom is feeding from the front of the fish. Little Bob really does like to go first. Will he move or stretch his neck?

They are all lined up nicely.

OK. Little Bob has relocated. He wants Mum to see his wide open mouth and fill it with fish. Do you think this is a better spot?

Bingo. The sun shines down on the ‘Golden Child’. The two older sibs look like they would rather lay down and not have the wind hit their faces. Little Bob prefers to eat.

Both Eyes wide open as well as beak open.

Yes! Little Bob is in the perfect spot. The others don’t seem to care. Indeed, they could well be used to him going first. There is always lots of fish to go around.

I wish you could see the smile on my face. Remember the day that Big Bob wanted to push her weight around and try and be dominant? You will recall that it didn’t work. Some of these third hatches are just brilliant. Little Bob is one of those. He doesn’t want to take ‘no’ for an answer so he figures out a strategy. Moving worked today.

Something happens. Mum starts feeding the big sibling in between Little Bob and the fish! Little Bob opens his mouth wide over and over again to try and get Mum’s attention.

It looks like the same image below, it isn’t. Little Bob tries over and over again. “Hey, Mum. Look, my mouth is open. Right here”.

Will his persistence pay off?

Finally!

Little Bob is getting some good bites. You can see the fish on his beak.

Little Bob is still opening wide. He has dropped the little crop he had and he is wanting more fish. Mum and Dad might have different ideas about that.

Did Dad want fish left for another feeding in case he couldn’t catch another one for awhile? It is unclear. At 7:32:57 Dad comes to retrieve the fish.

Every chick ate. Little Bob wanted some more bites but Mum said it was time to stop.

Surprise! Dad ate some of the fish and brought it back to Mum and the kids at 8:09:50.

It is difficult to see but it looks like everyone is crowded around Mom. The nest looks wet and cold. Hopefully that sun will come out and dry it tomorrow.

Is there someone still eating?

There is no telling who got what or how much. It is really windy and I bet chilly on the nest. Mom has them tucked in tight. The worst thing would be to get a chill in that damp nest.

Despite the cool windy weather, the chicks have had two feedings off that nice fish in the space of an hour and a half. Mom has them tucked in and they will be super toasty. Everything is fine on this nest. Just fine.

Mum and Dad are busy getting groceries for the four little falcons. My goodness they are growing and seem to be getting bigger and stronger by the hour. All you need to do is to take a look at the size of that wing in the image below to see the growth in a couple of days. Wow.

Xavier got a chance to incubate the eggs this morning so he was super eggcited.

WBSE 27 and 28 had an early feeding and they are both perfect – strengthening their legs and wings and getting very interested in the world outside of the nest. This has also been a great family to watch this year, just like the Port Lincoln Osprey family. No big dramatic events in either.

That is it for me today. I hope you had a very good weekend no matter where you are or what time it is. Take care everyone. See you soon!

And a last reminder. Mark you calendars. 9 October is eBird count day.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Sea Eagle Cam @ Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, and Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam at Orange.

Checking in with the Australian Birds

Yesterday I waited until the trio at the Port Lincoln Osprey nest had their morning feast before I headed off to read and sleep. There was a smile on my face. The chicks had a huge fish to share with mum at 8:57:45. They looked like they were going to pop those crops! I did one last check and goodness gracious, one of them was having some extra bites at 10:20:16. I hope Mum got some good fish! Where in the world are these osplets putting all this food?

Here is an image of that breakfast fish. It is a nice one and all of the chicks ate well and behaved themselves.

Nice crops.

It’s clown feet time! Just look at how full Little Bob is – and the size of those feet.

Mum offering a chick some more bites. Just in case they might still be hungry. What a great Mum she is!

Dad made another delivery at 13:32:17. The chicks still have some crop left from the morning ‘whale’ of a fish.

Bigger crops. These three should sleep for the rest of the afternoon.

There is another small fish delivery at 17:00:36.

That little fish was gone very quickly.

And another fish was delivered at 18:18:57.

No one went to bed hungry.

It has been raining in Orange and Melbourne. There is no indication that there is a pip in any of the eggs at the 367 Collins Street scrape. That said it is really hard to see because the couple chose to use the scrape at the far end of the ledge away from the camera.

You can see the rain gathering in the gutter area. Stay dry falcons!

It is supposed to rain for the next couple of days. Maybe the eyases will wait. What lousy weather to hatch if you do not have any protection from the rain like the scrape box of Xavier and Diamond in Orange. It is about 8 days for hatch there.

Xavier arrived with a full crop and soaking wet to see if Diamond wanted him to take a turn incubating. While Diamond made up her mind, Xavier caught a little sleep. Oh, what a sweetie. Look at his crop – wow.

But look at how dry it is for these two. I wonder if anyone in Melbourne would consider putting some kind of a cover over those two scrapes for next year? Can’t do it now as it would stress out and disturb the birds but, maybe next.

Lady Hawk recorded WBSE 27 and 28 doing the morning duet with their parents. Oh, I remember when WBSE 26 sang with its parents. That was such a delight. Now we have these two joining in the family tradition. As you can see they are both doing fabulous.

There nest is quite dry. Sleeping duckling style!

That is the morning check in with our Australian nests and scrapes. Let’s hope that the forecast for rain in Melbourne is wrong! Otherwise, every bird is doing great. No worries here.

Thank you for joining me. It is another blue sky sunny day on the Canadian Prairies. We are blessed. Take care everyone. Stay safe.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: the Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Sea Eagle Cam @ Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, The Falcon Cam Charles Sturt University at Orange and Cilla Kinross, and 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac.

Eagle Season is coming!

It is almost Bald Eagle breeding season in some parts of the United States. as more and more people and governmental agencies focus on the environment, there are studies from around the world trying to make wind farms more safe for our beautiful raptors.

The University of Minnesota has been doing just that. They discovered some interesting things when trying to use sound —– Bald Eagles just have normal hearing, nothing special. So as many begin talking about floating platforms in the ocean to generate renewable power, what can help the birds?

https://www.startribune.com/university-of-minnesota-researchers-protect-eagles-wind-farms-airspace/600100175/?fbclid=IwAR1ctzmnP07P3o5wb8IKkL0j35KkO33jluna8B38ge4CnZm2J-DTiqvhpeI

The sun is just rising over the Northeast Florida Bald Eagle nest near Jacksonville, Florida. It is the home of Samson and Gabrielle (Gabby). This is their third season together. They have hatched Romy and Jules (2020) and Legacy (2021).

If you have forgotten, this is the nest that Samson hatched at. It belonged to his parents, Romeo and Juliet. Tragedy struck the pair in 2019. The story and video of it is here:

This is the beginning of the 2021-22 season. It is a new day with wonderful prospects for the fall and spring! I so look forward to their little ones. Legacy pulled at all my heart strings as she did thousands of others. What a grand juvenile she grew into. So, lots to look forward to.

Samson and Gabby had spent the night on the branches of the natal tree. It is just turning 07:00 and Samson is fishing. Gabby is down working on the walls of the nest getting it ready.

She looks all over trying to decide what to move and where the new branches should go. Typically, the male brings in the branches and the female positions them.

It will not be long til Gabby has this nest worked into her liking. It is high up on a pine tree and everything has to be perfect to protect the eggs and the eaglets.

She waits for Samson to arrive. You will notice that he has brought a big stick onto the nest. Now he has left again.

Now he is back! They are having a conversation about what to do during the day.

I have to admit that I really enjoy this Bald Eagle nest near Jacksonville. Legacy was just a joy last year as she navigated life with ‘Eggie’ and ‘Pinecone’ as an only child. Here is the link to their streaming cam 1 (they have 3):

There are two other streaming cams to watch and both couples have arrived. One of the most famous is the nest of Harriet and M15 on the land of the Pritchett Family in Fort Myers. Both eagles have returned to the nest and have been seen working on it.

The third is the Captiva Eagle Nest on Santibel Island. It is the home of Connie and her new mate, Martin. Both have arrived at the nest this afternoon. One was seen earlier in the day.

Last year, the two eaglets named Peace and Hope died of rodenticide poisoning. The male Joe – well, I would argue that he reacted the same way that Romeo did when he could not care for the eaglets in 2018-19 – and well, Joe is gone.

Let us hope that Connie and her new mate have a fabulous year and that the folks using these designer poisons have stopped and cleaned up the area for these beautiful birds.

There are so many Bald Eagle nests it is hard to keep up with them. At the same time, there are the beautiful White-tailed and Golden Eagles in Europe. The Latvian Fund for Nature runs a host of eagle cams and I will be bringing you information as it becomes relevant. I am hoping that Matilde will have a new mate and that this will be successful! Spring is going to be busy!

The female at the Port Lincoln Osprey Nest is yelling to Dad to get a fish on the deck for the osplets!

Last year he seemed to ignore her but this year Dad has been, for the most part, on the ball. Sometimes he has to come to the nest to get his earful orders but then he goes fishing. Let us keep our fingers crossed for a very large fish like the one delivered yesterday. These kids are growing and they need more bigger fish. Less feedings but a lot of fish.

It is now 08:30 at the White-Bellied Sea Eagle Nest in Sydney’s Olympic Forest and WBSE 27 and 28 are waiting for a breakfast delivery, too.

This pair have done well this year. WBSE 27 has the darker head at the back with 28 here at the front. Both are healthy and there are no obvious physical difficulties like 26 had last year.

The problem that they do have are feathers and the two are constantly preening.

Both can stand and walk well.

Here they are watching for the parents to make a delivery! Waiting must be very hard when you are hungry. How dependent these birds are on the good health of their parents, too.

Food deliveries will be coming. The nestlings wait at both Port Lincoln and Sydney.

Thanks for joining me. I will bring you an update on the PLO nest first thing tomorrow. Take care everyone.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: The NE Florida Cam and the AEF, Captiva and the AEF, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Sea Eagles @ Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre.

As the Nest Turns 11 Sept

The female on the Port Lincoln Osprey barge woke up to some rain and by mid-day there was rough weather. The moderator of the PLO chat said they hoped that the chick would choose to stay in the egg!

It is currently 12 degrees C with a wind speed of 42 km/h or 26.09 miles per hour. Blustery. Not good for fishing. Best wrapped up in a cosy blanket with a cup of tea and a good book. Hang in there mum.

Aran is still in the Glaslyn Valley. Doesn’t he look grand on one of his favourite perches looking over ‘his’ territory. As much as others might have their eyes on their natal nest, Aran doesn’t intend to hand it over to either Tegid or Aeron, Monty’s boys, Z1 and Z2, respectively.

Some are worried. My notebook just said that ‘Aran migrates after the middle of September.’ That was accurate but not precise enough.

As it happened, Tiger Mozone on the PLO chat and so I was able to ask him. Immediately – literally – there was a link to ‘Tiger and Chloe B’s Osprey Data’.

https://www.imagicat.com/Glaslynstats2021.html?fbclid=IwAR1uxYgOaHJ85Yo7zbbEpttPlKvHn_N4zWrrL-TLutWheHwn_AQQRZPLr8c

These are the dates that Aran was last seen at the Glaslyn nest from 2015-2020:

  • 2015. 25 September
  • 2016. 16 September
  • 2017. 12 September
  • 2018. 22 September
  • 2019. 16 September
  • 2020. 15 September

The average is September 17th. That is six days from now. There is no need for anyone to be alarmed that Aran is still in the Valley, worrying that he is unable to migrate due to his earlier injury. Aran is ‘being Aran.’

Everyone that watches the Royal Cam Chick at Taiaroa Head, Tiaki, you should be giving a shout out to Ranger Sharyn. She located Tiaki 150 metres from her natal nest and the streaming cam. She carried her back to the general area of the nest – and just in time. LGL flew in and fed her daughter shortly after.

Here is Tiaki seeing her mom and coming quickly for that delicious squid shake. These chicks can really move when food is involved — or running away from ‘the dreaded basket’ when the rangers come round to weigh the chicks.

Victor Hurley, the Peregrine Falcon specialist who uses the streaming cam in Melbourne to study the falcons, is looking for some help. He was on the 367 Collins Street Falcons FB page today asking for individuals to accurately provide the time stamp for the incubation hand over duties. Later, he will be looking for time stamps for prey delivery. If you would like to help, please go to the 367 Collins Falcon Watchers and PM Hurley.

Here is a great example of what he is looking for. Mum is getting off the eggs and Cutie Pie ‘Dad’ is falcon walking on the ledge. They are such a good team.

It is windy in Sydney, too. WBSE 27 and 28 had a tiny bird – looks like another gull chick – around 6:29. 28 held back until almost all of the bird had been eaten by 27. That is a bit unusual for the first feeding in the morning. Normally 28 is right up front ready to go.

Notice that 27 stood for its breakfast! Oh, these two are really developing. Both have been standing more and trying to walk.

Another food item comes to the nest around 10:00. This time Lady splits the meal between both of the chicks.

28 is on the left and 27 on the right. You will notice that while the wing and back feathers are growing in nicely on both, 27’s tail is longer and 27 is noticeably larger.

In his book, Soaring with Fidel, David Gessner reminds readers that at the time of migration the juvenile Ospreys are transformed in appearance from when they were first fledglings. Gone is the white scallop on the feathers, gone is most of the down, the eyes are yellow, the dark feathers are darker, and the birds have ‘slimmed down’ somewhat.

So today an Osprey appeared on the Achieva Nest in St Petersburg. Help me out here. Could we be looking at a slightly older Tiny Tot?

The top two images are of the visitor today. The top one looks more like the face of Tiny Tot with the trademark ‘heart’ on the top of the head.

These are the first images that I grabbed of Tiny Tot out of the hundreds that I have. I wish that I could get both of the birds in the exact position.

Of course, it could be my mind playing tricks. I would dearly love for this to be Tiny Tot.

When I was scrolling for images of Tiny Tot, I cam across this one of Tiny Little. The Two Tinys are the stars of survival for 2021. The most amazing, clever, determined to live little birds who beat the odds. What I wouldn’t give for Tiny Tot to have a Darvic ring! Then we would not be guessing who is on that nest.

I will leave all of you with this mystery and a reminder of how inspiring these two little ospreys are to all of us.

Thank you so very much for joining me today. Take care everyone. Stay safe.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: PLO Osprey Project, Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest, Sea Eagles @ Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, Achieva Credit Union St Petersburg, 367 Collins Street Falcons, and Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn.

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.

A look at 3 feedings at the WBSE Nest

All of the other nests are relatively quiet. While I do love to see the adults sharing incubation duties, watching a bird incubate eggs can sometimes feel like watching paint dry. So I decided to go and see what was happening with the little sea eaglets. They were just finishing a meal when I started watching them. I turned away for a second and a second gull was brought to the nest by Dad at 12:47. Good gracious. Had Dad won the Silver Gull Lottery?

This is an image from the feeding when I first started watching the sea eaglets. Thank goodness for rewind. This was the first prey delivery of the day and it arrived at 12:19:01.

Both eaglets are sharing the prey and behaving themselves in this feeding. WBSE 27 is on the left and 28 is on the right. The picture shows Lady giving 28 a morsel of meat. She alternates between them. There is absolutely not a hint of rivalry.

Here they are standing up. It is a wonder they aren’t falling over from being top heavy.

They hear Dad approaching the nest.

Dad arrives at the nest with another gull. Both of them sit on their little bottoms in shock. Look at their faces seeing that prey. Also notice that 28, in the front, has a large crop, too.

The time for the second delivery is 12:47:20 as shown on the time stamp.

Remember, both have literally just eaten. Both chicks have crops. Neither one of them is ‘starving’. Indeed, there is no shortage of food on the nest. The behaviour in this second feeding demonstrates that rivalry is not always because there is less food being delivered. It is strictly about dominance on the nest.

In the image below, 27 is up by Lady getting ready to be fed. 28 is moving up from the back to go to the left of 28. I wonder why 28 did not go to the right. That is its usual spot – and it is a good place to catch the eye of Lady.

27 first gives 28 ‘the look’. Was it because 28 had to balance itself by extending its wing out and it touched 27’s back?

Whatever it was, 27 pecks 28 making sure that 28 realizes who is boss.

28 immediately goes into submission and stays that way for approximately 12 minutes while 27 eats the gull. These are the hardest things to watch on these large raptor nests between the chicks. We always want them to be nice to one another.

By the time that 28 straightens himself and gets up to the feeding place, the gull is almost gone. 27 got 98% of that gull while 28 got a few bites.

The behaviour of 27 shows that despite there being plenty of food, she will insist on dominance. She will eat first. Anyone watching large raptor nests will know that there is always a dominant bird. Often the one dominated gets very clever. They listen, watch, and learn to read ‘the clues’ so as not to be attacked. 28 has a little more learning to do. It would be interesting to see if 28 is only pecked when it is on the left.

So the time is 13:07:18 – and guess what?! A third gull arrives on the nest at 13:15:13. Yes, I am serious. Dad must have found a nest of gulls. If I remember correctly there is an old barge and the Silver Gulls make their nests there. It is not far away. Someone told me once that the pigeons are for falcons and gulls are for eagles. It certainly seems true at some of the Australian nests!

Here is the next prey item arriving on the nest.

Both chicks get up to the feeding area. 27 is on the left and 28 has its usual spot on the right. It is important to note that the eagles do not see straight in front of them; they must tilt their head a bit.

Just look at how full these two are! I do hope that Lady gets a chance to eat.

This time 28 got lots of food. Lady alternated between them. In the end, 27 was too full to eat anymore and 28 finished off that gull.

Both are in food comas.

There is no moral to this story. There is a lot of prey coming on the WBSE nest. This is the first time I have seen three prey items delivered and eaten in this short of time. WBSE 27 still feels that it needs to, sometimes, throw about her position on the nest. At this last feeding there was no rivalry. Both ate and they had big enough crops to last them til evening!

As they grow, each will need more and more food. The gull chicks are not that big. The food that is delivered is also meant for Lady. Let us hope that she gets a good meal today. The female’s lose vital nutrients making the eggs they lay and it is said that they lose approximately 30% of their body weight during the nesting phase. Hopefully Dad will bring on a nice big fish or eel for later.

The Silver Gull that Dad brings to the nest are the most common gull in Australia.

“Silver Gull” by 0ystercatcher is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

They are found everywhere. While the adults are 40-45 cm or 15.7 to 18 inches and have a wing span of 94 cm or 3 ft, the chicks would be much smaller. Last year Dad was always raiding the nests of the gulls in addition to fish, eels, and at least one turtle. I recall that one eagle expert said that the ‘red meat’ of some prey tends to make the eaglets more aggressive than the fish. That could be what happened today or maybe 27 was just annoyed at 28 for touching her.

Both sea eaglets are eating as you can see. It is a bit unnerving to see the eldest whip the little one into shape especially since they had been doing so well. Still, this is a worthwhile nest to watch because the behaviour is so fascinating. I am going to have to watch this nest more closely. I am curious as to whether the pecking only occurs when WBSE 28 is on the left of 27. Perhaps it doesn’t matter.

The link to the WBSE camera is here:

One of the things I find most fascinating are learning the birds connected with their vocalizations in the Sydney Olympic Forest.

Thanks so much for joining me today. Stay well, stay safe. See you soon.

Thank you to the Sea Eagle Cam @ Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre where I took my screen shots.

Sydney White-Bellied Sea Eaglets

There was concern that siblicide was occurring on the White-Bellied Sea Eagle nest in Sydney’s Olympic Park. It is time to put those fears aside. Prey delivery has become regularized and the two are fed regularly, growing, and are becoming curious about what is happening outside the nest.

The White-Bellied Sea Eagles are Australia’s second largest bird of prey. They have a wing span of 1.8-2.2 metres or 6-7 feet. They weigh up to 4.2 kg or 9 lbs. The female is larger and weighs more than the male. This is known as reverse sex size dimorphism. The adults on the Sydney Olympic Park Ironbark Tree are Lady and Dad. There have been a succession of breeding couples using this tree nest for decades.

In 2021, WBSE 27 hatched on 29 July at 4:57 and WBSE 28 hatched 31 July at 5:48 pm. Just to remind you how tiny they were here are two images in those first few days.

In the first image WBSE 27 was not quite 24 hours old.

In this one, WBSE is not quite 24 hours old and WBSE 27 is almost 48 hours old. You can clearly see the egg tooth, the white piece on the tip of the beak that helps them break through the hard egg shell.

Now look at the two of them. WBSE 27 is on the right with WBSE 28 on the left. You can see how 48 hours difference in age impacts the growth of the juvenile feathers.

In terms of the development, we are entering weeks 5 and 6. By week 5, the chicks will still have their white down. Pin feathers will appear on the shoulders, the back and the wing tips. If you look at the image above you can see these dark feathers coming in on each of the chicks. They should be standing on both feet, checking out the nest, and trying to pick up food. They may start to flap their wings. As we get to week 6, more and more of the dark feathers will begin to show all over the chick’s body. They will preen a considerable amount of time per day. They will now do more wing flapping and standing on both of their feet without the aid of the wings. They will continue efforts at self-feeding (if allowed, Lady does love to feed them!).

Looking forward to developments during week 7, the chicks will do a lot more preening as the dark brown juvenile feathers will continue to grow over their entire bodies. It has to be really itchy – those feathers coming in. Their tail will become noticeable. When they sit they may spread their wings. You may see them begin mantling. They will become more steady on their feet. One notable change is the chick’s interest in grapsing twigs and food with their feet. They should continue to work on self-feeding but this, of course, depends on whether or not prey is left on the nest for them to practice.

WBSE 27 is standing nicely on his feet. WBSE 28 still has a crop from an earlier feeding. You can really see how many wing feathers are coming in. Just look at that little tail developing.

It looks like 28 has a bit of a food coma. 27 is busy looking at what is happening outside the nest.

WBSE continues to work on its balance. Notice how it is holding out its wings for balance. Often the birds will use the tip of the win to keep them steady on their feet. By the end of the 6th week, they should be standing without using the wings. WBSE 28 is working hard to do this.

WBSE is also curious as to what the adult is doing up on the branch. Notice how 28 is sitting with its wings loose to the sides. Sometimes I find that the chicks on the nest are actually ahead of the development scales for that week.

Lady has come a long way in her parenting skills. Both chicks wait their turn to be fed. She will give 28 a few bites and then 27 and then back to 28. This method has given the chicks food security and reduced the pecking of 28 by 27.

Lady always looks like she is smiling to me.

Here is the link to the Sydney Sea Eagle Cam.

Thank you so much for joining me. I know that there are so many people who love these little eagles and I wanted to reassure all that the nest is very calm and peaceful and the chicks are developing normally. Take care everyone. Stay safe.

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