Someone has a sense of humour over at the Dyfi Osprey Project. Have a look at their season highlights (oh, I had forgotten what a horrid spring these birds had!). There are some great images in this video compilation.
There was a really short feed at the Port Lincoln Osprey Nest before the sun came up.
The golden rays of the morning are falling on mom has she has those three little osplets under her keeping warm. It is 11 degrees C – coolish and the winds are blowing at 23 km/h. Brisk. I hope Dad has a good day fishing. The forecast is for rain on Saturday and Sunday.
Glaslyn has officially announced that Aran is now on his migration. He has not been seen since Tuesday.
Closer to home. The Great Blue Heron wins the award for patience. He stood positively still and because of that, he was very successful in his fishing today in a river south of Winnipeg. I wish I could find the words to describe how quiet it was on the river and what a privilege it was to see this really beautiful bird catch its dinner.
This Great Blue has been keeping the juvenile Green Heron company but if the latter was around, he is still alluding me.
There was not a sign of a Wood Duck or a Cormorant but the Mallards and the Canada Geese were the usual suspects at the urban pond today.
For some reason today, the grass seemed greener to the geese on the other side of a major paved thoroughfare. We ushered them back but not without a lot of hissing and honking. The grass was definitely not greener and the cars were not being respectful. If you see geese, please slow down.
How many of you are Big Red and Arthur fans? The Red-tail Hawk couple at Cornell University? If so, the folks at the Cornell Bird Lab have put together a compilation video like the one for the Dyfi Osprey Nest. Here it is:
It is that time of year. First, I remind everyone to please not rake your yard. There are insects growing there. Just leave the leaves. Someone’s ears will thank you for not using the blower as well. And, finally, this is the time of year that the eagles, the condors, and many other bird species show up in the wildlife clinics because of lead. Please tell everyone you know that fishes and hunts to use lead free kit. Thanks!
The Bald Eagle is not, of course, the symbol of Canada but many breed here during the summer and we want all of the birds safe.
I hope that each and everyone of you have a wonderful weekend. Maybe the weather is sunny and dry – go for a walk, say hi to your favourite birds. Check out the little ones at the PLO nest or WBSE 27 and 28 at the Sea Eagles nest in Sydney. Hatch watch for the falcons is still a ways away.
Thank you to the Port Lincoln Osprey Cam where I took my screen shots.
It has been a very strange day. We had a tiny bit of rain during the middle of the night on Monday with lots of thunder and lightning. It was not enough rain to help anything. South of where I live in a town called Morris, Manitoba, the river is practically bone dry. Dead fish is all you see and dirt. Old timers are starting to talk about the days of the Dust Bowl. I think about all the birds that depend on the water and the fish. A follower wrote to me and asked me if I knew anything about the ospreys at a nest in Wisconsin – the Collin Marsh Osprey Nest. It is not a nest that I follow but I did check. Just as ‘S’ had noted, the only chick on the nest looks a bit thin. As it turns out there were originally three relatively healthy chicks. Now there is only one. They are not sure what killed two of them. I am hoping that the Neustadter Nature Centre will be doing a post-mortem. It could well be the heat. A bander in Wisconsin said that they had found many dead chicks in the nests. That is very very sad. In England, many of the nature areas that were closed during the pandemic were taken over by the wildlife only to open and have humans scare birds off their nests and chase animals out of the area along with purposefully setting fires. What in the world is wrong with humans? Sorry. It just seems that you go two steps forward and three backward sometimes. Very frustrating.
As you know, I really admire Ferris Akel. He has a regular tour of the Montezuma Park area, Wildlife Drive, Sapsucker Lake, and the Cornell Campus every Saturday. Ferris has someone editing his videos and they are simply excellent. Today, he posted the Red Tail Hawk highlights from his tour on 16 July. It’s OK to say, ‘Oh, my, aren’t they cute!” Have a look:
The Royal Cam princess, Taiki, on Taiaroa Head, New Zealand was weighted today. Las week she weighed 8.2 kg. Today, her mum, Lime-Green-Lime came in to feed Taiki right before weighing. Taiki is 177 days old and today she weighted 8.8 kg or 19.4 lbs. No worries about any supplemental feeds! Taiki’s mother has been in to feed her every day for the past six days. That means that she is foraging very close to Taiaroa Head which is in the very south of New Zealand near Dunedin.
Every year the New Zealand Department of Conservation bands the chicks born on Taiaroa Head. This year the bands will be white. Last year they were green. The banding is very important. It allows the rangers and all other interested parties to identify the birds when they return as juveniles, when they select mates, and when they return to breed. That banding will take place between 11-4pm NZST.
Many of you will have heard the term ‘translocation’ in relationship to the Ospreys in the United Kingdom and many of the projects of Roy Dennis and his Wildlife Foundation. There is news of a different translocation project, an extremely complicated one. To save the Black-footed Albatross on Midway because of rising sea waters, eggs are being transported 6000 km from Midway to Guadalupe Island in Mexico. The researchers say it was their only option. The waters are rising fast and soon Midway will flood.
They hope that the Laysan Albatross foster parents will accept the chicks and eggs and that those chicks will fledge and return to Mexico to breed – not Midway Atoll. So far 93% of the hand-reared albatross, in other projects, have fledged. Let us hope that this project has such a high success rate! Here is an article on this incredible project:
Of course, rising waters and seas heating up and fish dying are not the only threats to the albatross. Another is the level of plastic garbage in our oceans. It is estimated that by 2050 if humans do not curtail their use of and dumping of plastic, there will be more of it in the oceans than there is water.
Black-footed Albatross is exclusive to the North Pacific Ocean living and breeding at the Midway Atoll which is part of the state of Hawaii. Some nest off of Japan. They breed around the age of five years. Like other albatross, they forage off of what they can find on the surface of the ocean such as squid, fish, and crustaceans. They have been known to eat refuse and carrion. When they intake the water, you can see in the image above, that they also ingest plastic floating in the ocean. It is not, of course, just the plastic that you can see but the chemicals that keep the plastics soft that are appearing in the eggs of the birds. Those chemicals are known as phthalates. These are found in the yolk of the eggs of the birds. An ongoing study on gull eggs may reveal the damage that will be done to the chicks. I will keep you posted.
Did you know that at the turn of the century it was fashionable to have an entire dead bird decorating your hat? Etta Lemon campaigned against the use of feathers of any kind in the fashion industry.
Many of the species that I write about were made or almost made extinct because of this practice – the Albatross and the Osprey – are only two.
It is 4:30 in the morning at the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest. Tiny Little is waking up. You can see the silhouettes of the other two siblings and the parents on the tree in the distance.
After missing out, at 13:30, Tiny Little figured out what he had to do to eat. When White YW comes into the nest with a fish, you claim the fish as yours! And TL did that. Yeah for Tiny Little!!!!!! This is a good lesson to learn. In the world of Osprey you need to be a little assertive even if you would rather not.
Thanks, Dad! So glad no one else is here!
Tiny Little has the fish between his talons and he is going to eat it. Dad took the head off so he doesn’t have to deal with those annoying bones like the ones around the eyes.
It is now 16:34 on the Foulshaw Moss Nest. Tiny Little is standing on the big stick and 464 is eating a fish. Will there be any left for Tiny Little? or will Tiny Little take off flying?
Thanks so much for joining me this morning. It is raining again where I live. The sky is light grey, the trees and plants are green and it is wonderful! It is 18 degrees, a much more normal summer temperature for us. They even say we have a chance of rain tomorrow. This will not fill up the Morris River but it might help the grass, the trees and the flowers the nectar eaters need. Take care all. Stay safe. See you soon.
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I get my screen shots: Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest, and the Cornell Bird and NZ DOC Royal Cam Albatross.
It is 42 degrees C in Longview, Washington. It is much hotter on the very high, exposed nest of the Cowlitz Ospreys. There have been two fish deliveries today that I am aware of – that was up to the afternoon. The area is under an excessive heat warning until 11pm on Monday.
Both Electra and Little Bob ate well. You can see Little Bob has a nice crop in the image below.
Electra is doing all she can to keep Little Bob and herself cool. She has mantled and even flapped her wings to try and get the air to stir. Oh, please send your warm wishes for these two.
Sad news is coming out of the Kakapo Recovery Team. Today they began their annual transmitter change on Whenhua Hou Island. When they arrived they found two deceased Kakapo, Xena and Ihi. Zena hatched in 2019. She injured her leg early on and had to have medical treatment. She was returned to the island but they found her, today, with her leg stuck. Poor thing. Ihi hatched in 2011 and bread in 2016. She was the mother of Hondy and Galaxy. This now brings the total Kakapo to 202, down from 208 a year ago.
The photographs below were taken by Lydia Uddstrom. The top one is Ihi and the bottom is Xena.
Please, again, send warm wishes down to those working on this small island where these non-flying critically endangered parrots reside. Let us hope that they do not find any more dead or sick birds.
And, now, for some good news. The heat wave hitting the Pacific Northwest did not happen in Alaska. It is 26 degrees dropping and will be 28 tomorrow. Still, it is hot on that Bald Eagle Nest at Glacier Gardens. Little Kindness who is 38 days old today is regulating her temperature by panting and she is panting a lot! The average fledge age for this nest is 89 days with the national average being 80 days.
Parents, Liberty and Freedom, are making sure she is hydrated. Today, six fish have come to the nest – yes, you read that right – six whoppers!
Speaking of whoppers, Idris appears to have set a fishing record for the Dyfi Osprey Nest. The staff have calculated that he is bringing in mullet in the 3-4 lb range. This means that they weigh more than he does. It appears that he will now hold the record for the largest fish brought to the nest.
Here it is! The staff also understand now why Dysnni is also the largest male chick at this nest ever – at the time of ringing! All that fish. You just have to look at the underdeveloped little one on the Cowlitz Nest to understand how important it is for these birds to have sufficient nourishment to grow healthy and strong.
The graph was posted on the FB Page of the Friends of Loch Garten Osprey Page today along with the image above. Look at the graph below. You will see Dysynni coming into the weight range of the females. Ystwyth is not the heaviest female, however, but she is four days younger than Dysynni.
There has been a bit of a leak of information from the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest. It seems that our precious Tiny Little Bob is a female! She is Blue 463. I was shocked! I suppose we all assumed a tiny little male. It seems that Blue 463 is also getting interested in self-feeding. Those of you that watch the Achieva Osprey Nest will remember that Tiny Tot also was self-feeding before the two bigger siblings. It is part of survival and Tiny Little was caught on camera trying to sneak fish today.
Here is Tiny Little in the front. You can just see a bit of her Blue bling. Apparently, one of the two bigger Bobs is a female and the other is a male. I am going to make a guess that Great Big nasty Bob is a female and Middle Bob that hangs out with Tiny and didn’t bother her eating is a male.
It has been a particularly sad year for the Osprey Nests. Today, a friend, sent me news that both chicks on the Newfoundland Power Company Osprey Nest have died. I have not watched that nest this year. It is reported that after the youngest hatched today, it got trapped under the older chick. The mother tried to get the big one off the little one by pulling its leg and sadly, both chicks died.
There were questions about Ospreys and their ability to ‘fight’ intruders. A reliable source tells me today that the talons of the Osprey have developed over millions of years to carry the fish, not to fight like eagles. When the intruder was on the Achieva Osprey Nest, Tiny Tot learned to get on the intruder’s back, just like they would if they were mating, and beat the daylights out of the head of the offender with its beak.
Almost all of the Osprey nests have had intruders. Some are just annoyances but others are more deadly. It was only two days ago that the mother, Alma, and one of the three chicks was killed in Finland. That same day, there was a relentless attack on Iris and her nest by another female. Louis comes to Iris to help protect her. Here is a video of that encounter:
Good news comes in from the Dahlgren Nest of Jack and Harriet. Both of their chicks have now fledged. Congratulations!
Speaking of fledging, any day now and the two Bobs on the Rutland Manton Bay Nest will take off. The hovering has gotten intense on the nest of Blue 33 and Maya the last couple of days.
Over at the Achieva Osprey nest with Tiny Tot and Jack has been busy delivering some nice fish for the little one. Thanks, dad! I have seen two deliveries but there could have been more. Tiny seems to have a nice sized crop.
Beautiful NC0 has taken such good care of her chicks this year. They have grown beyond belief and soon, they will begin their hovering, too, just like those on the Manton Bay nest.
I stopped in to check on the Ks for everyone and found K1 on the nest. Within a blink, she was off. I wonder if Big Red and Arthur were delivering a meal over on the Rice Building?
Checked back later and the Ks are not sleeping on the nest tonight.
Thank you for joining me this evening. Send cooling thoughts out to our lovely birds who are in the extreme heat area. We can sit with fans or AC but they are exposed. If you live in the area please put bowls of water out for the song birds living near you. Every little thing helps. Take care of yourself. See you soon.
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I grabbed my screen shots: Achieva Credit Union, Cowlitz PUD, Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, Scottish Wildlife Trust and Friends of Loch of the Lowes, Dyfi Osprey Project, and Glacier Gardens Bald Eagle Cam.
The featured image is Xena. The photo credit goes to Lydia Uddstrom.
I want to thank Ferris Akel for his Saturday Bird Tours. Ferris begins near his home, travels to Montezuma, goes down Wildlife Drive, winds up at Sapsucker Lake and then hits the Cornell Campus. Ferris begins around noon NY time and is often still sharing the birds with everyone after 7pm. You can hop in and out of the tour at your will and you can even join the chat. It is free. If you subscribe and click on the bell you will get notifications when Ferris is streaming live. So, thank you, Ferris Akel. I would not have the screen shots of the Ks from Saturday evening without you!
K1 and K3 are really different chicks from the Js last year. K1 and K3 like being around their natal nest. The Js were flying around the buildings over between Bradfield and Rice and playing on the lawns. Yesterday, K1 amused himself watching the soccer match below their light stand nest on the athletic field.
We know this is K3, how? From the back K3 has a really muddy tail with no clear defined dark lines and a thin, rather ratty white terminal band. K1, on the other hand, has a wide white terminal band and distinct dark lines on her tail feathers.
K3 amused himself for a very long time watching the people below him.
Meanwhile, K1 was on the railing above K3 watching the people and the soccer match. She did not appear as mesmerized as K1 was. Wonder what K1 is thinking? would he like to play with the ball? Certainly the Js had their own kind of soccer game last year with the pinecones lying around the fence.
All of a sudden, K1 sees something and she flies off the light stand, across Tower Road, over the Rice Building and beyond – and then returns to the nest! Wonder what she saw that attracted her attention? She didn’t stop anywhere, just took a great flight.
K1 is a very large hawklet and she is a very strong flyer. She is able to establish her target and return to the thin railing on the nest without any effort at all. She is very different than J1 last year who appeared hesitant to fly.
K3 pays K1 no mind. He is still watching the soccer match! Isn’t he just such a sweet little cutie pie? Last year J3 won my heart. This year K3 has stolen it completely!
After spending a little bit of time on the nest, K1 decides to fly to the Oak Trees near the driveway between the Fernow and Rice Buildings. Ferris was able to find her rather easily because of the Robins alerting in the area.
While K1 is over in the Oak trees, Big Red lands on the nest. Big Red has found the chippie that the Ks left. She starts eating it trying to lure both of the Ks to the nest. K1 can see her from the trees.
I find this interesting. In past years, Big Red has almost insisted that the chicks, once they have fledged, eat ‘off’ the nest. But this year, she seems to be completely content having them self-feed or she feeds them right in the nest cup.
K3 held back and let mama eat for awhile before moving up so she would feed him some of the chippie.
Meanwhile, Arthur is over on another light stand protecting the territory, Big Red, and the Ks from intruders. This has been a terrible year for intruders and tragedies at other nests. I hope none of that comes to the Cornell campus.
After feeding K3, Big Red returns to her favourite light tower so that Arthur can eat. She is on sentry duty now.
As the evening comes to a close, both of the Ks are on the nest tower for the night. What a lovely unremarkable day – thank goodness. Bird World can do without any drama for a day!
The little chick on the Cowlitz PUD nest had a fish this morning. Thank goodness. It must have arrived around 8:45 nest time (there is no clock that I can find on their streaming cam). It will be 40 degrees C in the area and no doubt hotter on the nest. This little one needs all the hydration it can get – so does Electra. It was a nice sized fish but they are going to need many more today. Most of you know that it is difficult to fish when it is so hot. The fish go to the bottom where it is cooler. Fingers crossed for Wattsworth and Electra – who should also be out fishing today.
The image below reminds me so much of Tiny Tot when his siblings were so large and he was running around the nest trying to find food to eat. No doubt this chick is way behind in its development. It needs to grow and develop quickly before migration!
It was so nice to see Lady Hawk on the chat of the Golden Eagles in Bucovina this morning. She has done an amazing series of videos on this little fellow. And this eaglet now has a name – it is Zenit! In the late afternoon the Dad brought in a small bird for Zenit. So happy that the dad is feeling much more comfortable coming to the nest with prey. The mother had been but had no prey.
Over on the Foulshaw Moss Nest in Cumbria, you can see that great Big has a ‘great big’ crop! Blue 35 is busy feeding Tiny Little Bob and hopefully he will have a huge crop, too! Always wonderful when Tiny Little gets a good meal.
Thank you for joining me today to check in on the Ks. Everything is fine. Stay safe, take care. For those of you in the high heat warning areas, drink lots of fluids and try to stay cool. When I was a little girl, we did not have air conditioning. Instead, my mother would spray my sheets with water and turn the fan on. Oh, it is gloriously cool! Try it.
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Cumbria Wildlife Trust and Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest, Bucovina Golden Eagle Cam, Cowlitz PUD, and Ferris Akel YouTube Live Stream.
Oh, those third hatches that have been beaten down and abused by their big siblings can be so clever – if they survive. They also learn how to read their environment by being patient, looking, listening, and working their way in to get the food. Tiny Tot at the Achieva Osprey Nest was not afraid to walk the rails of the nest siding to try and get food or, in desperation, eat the old meat off a bone. Louis helped Aila feed the chicks at the Loch Arkaig nest and JJ7 fondly known as Captain thrived. Then there was Z1 and Congo. The list is growing. But today, a quick look at Tiny Little Bob at the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest near Witherslack in Cumbria. The parents are White YW and Blue 35. They have been bonded mates for 8 years and in that time they have raised 18 chicks. That is a fabulous record!
The Bobs were born on 18 May, 20 May, and 22 May. Little Tiny Bob was so very tiny compared to the other two. There he is stretching really hard to get a bite of fish.
Tiny Little is still very tiny compared to its two older siblings.
White YW brought in a flounder at tea time and Tiny Little really wanted some of that fish. But Great Big Bob was wanting to eat first and saw Tiny moving towards mom and walked him back to the edge of the nest. Great Big Bob did not peck Tiny Little, she just let it be known that she eats first.
There is Tiny Little Bob staying out of the way of Great Big Bob and Middle Bob. Great Big Bob will go and begin eating the flounder.
Tiny Little Bob slowly moved along the nest railing to get out of view of Great Big Bob who was eating. He is watching what is happening closely and trying to figure out how to position himself to get some fish. He has no crop and he is really hungry.
Tiny Little raises his neck so that he can better see what is going on with the feeding. You can see his flat crop. There is still lots of fish left.
Tiny Little Bob waits until he thinks that Great Big Bob has had enough to eat that he will not mind Tiny Little Bob having some of that nice fish. Remember to survive all of these little pecked ones have to be extra clever, extra patient and very observant. They don’t want to get into a situation where their head and neck are being pecked and shaken.
Tiny Little Bob decides to move in for some fish. He has assessed the feeding situation and has figured out where he should go to be successful. Here is what happens:
Oh, Tiny Little Bob is ever so clever! Wonder if he will be able to eat all that flounder without the big siblings deciding they want some more????
At the end of the day, the big sibs were hungry again. Blue 35 has them all lined up to eat but guess who is still getting most of that flounder? If you said, Tiny Little Bob you are absolutely correct! He is in the perfect spot for mom to feed. Smart kid that one.
This is just the best way to begin a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon. There are two cameras at the Cumbria Osprey Nest. Here is the link if you would like to watch this family. But just a note. The cameras do not have a rewind feature. That said I think their images are clearer and more detailed than many of the other cameras with a rewind feature.
No fledges yet on the Red tail Hawk nest at Cornell but the birds are antsy and Arthur and Big Red are tempting them again today. K3 almost fludged this morning. K2 is hanging in there. I hope these other two fledge so that she can get some medical attention.
Fledges normally take place in the morning or evening. I will keep you posted if you are not watching. If you want to watch, here are the links for the two cameras:
Take care everyone. Thanks for joining me. Keep cheering on Tiny Little Bob. He is quite the character!
Thank you to the Cumbria Wildlife Trust Osprey Cam where I took my screen shots and video clips.
The Red tail Hawks and, especially Arthur, have been giving aerial demonstrations for their three eyases, the Ks, today. The weather was lovely and the winds were fantastic. K3, the youngest was really getting into having that wind go underneath his wings.
Some, much more experienced than me have shared their wisdom with me. Large female birds take longer to get their feathers. The females are already larger than the males. As a result, it takes longer for the feathers of the female to come in and for her to be ready to fledge. This certainly was correct last year with J1 who fledged last and was determined to be a ‘she’ at her autopsy. The youngest, J3 fledged second with J2 fledging first. Ironically, J2 was the second to hatch but the first egg laid if I remember correctly. Now we will see what happens this year.
There is a bit of a spanner in the works because of K2. There is something wrong with K2’s beak area and eye on the right. She has been scratching it today which is not making things any better. No one knows what is wrong but if K1 and K3 fledge then an attempt will be made to take K2 into care.
For now, though, K3 is really having a bang up time jumping, flapping, and watching Arthur do his aerial stunts. I did short videos to show you the action.
In the first one you can see K3 watching Arthur flying around the nest and getting excited. At one time he tries to go upon the light box. That is, in fact, the way that J2 sort of fludged last year – climbing on the light box and being forced to fly off as he fell off it.
In the second, K3 really gets going with the wind under its wings and jumping high. Just look at those great legs and that little one go!
Stop and count the dark lines on K3s tail. You will see if you look carefully that there are six! K3 has enough tail length to fly nicely.
And then, as quick as a wink, the rains came. Fledging will have to happen another day. No one wants these Ks trying to take their first flight with heavy wet wings across that road!
If you want to watch all the action of Big Red, Arthur and the Ks as fledge gets closer, here are the links. There are two cameras.
This is the normal camera which can be moved and zoomed in by the camera operators:
This is the Fixed Camera. It looks down towards the fledge ledge.
In other news, Tiny Tot has been defending his natal nest in St Petersburg today. Jack has brought him or her a fish. The Cowlitz kids were eating the last time I checked on them and sadly, if you did not see my earlier news, all three chicks on the Urdaibai Biosphere Park Osprey Nest have now died. It is a very sad day for everyone celebrating the success of the translocation project. And in Australian news, Lady has laid her first egg at the White Bellied Sea Eagle Nest in the Sydney Olympic Park. Another one will be laid in 2 or 3 days.
Thank you for joining me. Take care. Enjoy your weekend.
Thank you to the Cornell Bird Lab and the streaming cam at the Red Tail Hawk Nest on the Cornell Campus. That is where I took my video clips.
Those Ks look too small to start thinking about fledging but we know the time is coming. Big Red is showing them where to stand on the fledge post for their first flight. She is leaving hints on where to go with those oak leaves, and the other day Arthur started his aerial flying demonstrations for the three of them. Gosh, they look too little to fledge. Did I say that twice?! They don’t have all of their feathers on their heads even! But get your worry beads out they are hopping and flapping.
I don’t think K3 appreciates all of this – oh just wait, K3, you will be flapping soon.
This video was posted by Rebecca Alexander on the Cornell Red Tail Hawk FB page and there was a ‘share’ button. I shortened her original version to fit on this blog. Enjoy.
They may be getting big but those Ks still like it better when Big Red feeds them.
Arthur delivered a chippie – gosh it is good to see chippies on this nest instead of Starlings – but K3 told the others if they waited and left it Big Red would come in and feed them before bedtime! K3 is guarding it in case it runs up the light box like one did last year for the Js. Seriously. If you didn’t see it there is a YouTube video. I will find that and post it at the bottom. It is so funny!
Tiny Tot has been on and off the Achieva Credit Union Osprey Nest. Jack brought in two fish this morning. Oh, Tiny was hungry! And he left and he returned to the nest at 1:52:44.
Just stop for a minute and look at that form. Beautiful. He will nail that landing.
Someone wrote to me wondering if the parents were teaching Tiny Tot to fish. The answer is: No. The Osprey instinctively know how to fish. The precise programme of how to hold their feet, fit their wings together in that beautiful delta profile and go down head and talons first is in their long, long history – more than 50 million years of it. That doesn’t mean that Tiny is going to go in and catch his first fish easily! Nope. They say on average it takes 15 tries. That could be tiring. I assume the choppier the water the harder the fishing. There are some super star osprey, like Blue 33 (11) who seem to always get their fish on the first try but most don’t.
Everyone is already missing Tiny Tot and he has not left the nest yet. There is a sadness that comes over all that love him just thinking about it. Certainly by September the Ospreys in the north – Canada and the northern US – will get that twitch that calls them to migrate – even for the first time. It just happens. I love the description in Belle’s Journey:
“Higher and higher she climbed, making big circles in the sky. As she turned south and faced the ocean, she could feel the earth’s magnetic pull. Something told her that she should go toward the ocean. Soon the water would get cold, and the fish would go down too deep for Belle to catch them. her instincts told her she had to go south, where it would be warm during the winter and food would be abundant.”
Belle had a satellite tracker that showed her migration from Martha’s Vineyard to Brazil. But it doesn’t get cold in Florida like it does farther north. Florida is, in fact, a place where many osprey stay the entire year. Neither Jack or Diane are ringed. They do not have trackers. We do not know if they stay or go. Or one does and one doesn’t. Richmond stays in the San Francisco Bay area – always has. Rosie migrates. They meet at the nest around Valentine’s Day! How utterly sweet.
One thing that is known is that males return to the territory of their natal nest to raise their families. Many take over the nests of their fathers. We do not know if Tiny Tot is a male or a female. Both males and females have necklaces. In fact, Blue 022 on the Poole Harbour Nest has a pretty nice necklace! There he is in front flapping his wings.
If Tiny Tot is a male, I have said that I want to draw and log images of his head. His body will change but not the markings on his head. I want to recognize him if he returns. And, as I am always grumbling, those chicks were not banded! Drives me nuts.
But back to Tiny Tot. Breeding season is a long way off. The only thing that will cause Tiny Tot to naturally move off the nest is his instinct or the parents shifting him off. But since the parents won’t be using the nest again until 2022, they have a free security guard in Tiny Tot. Who knows how long he will be on the nest. Who knows when he will leave. Enjoy every moment he is there – it is all we can do.
And last but not least, if you are missing or thinking you are going to be missing your favourite bird, you can get a fridge magnet. I had one made of Tiny Tot by our local photography store. They are reasonably priced everywhere.
I can talk to Tiny every time I open the fridge!
Thank you for joining me. The birds give me so much joy and there are so many it is hard to keep track. Right now my focus remains on Tiny Tot and Big Red and her family. Then I will be switching to some of the Ospreys that will be fledging soon – and then to the lovely Royal Albatross Cam Chick as she approaches fledge.
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I grab my screen shots: Achieva Credit Union, Poole Harbour Osprey Project, and Cornell Bird Lab and the RTHs. I also want to thank Rebecca Alexander for the video she posted that I have shared and to Lady Hawk for keeping me up to date on the owls and the pigeon.
The Cowlitz PUD Osprey nest can be really frustrating. Or maybe it is just Wattsworth that causes my blood pressure to go up. He brought in a couple of appetizers on Thursday, 3 June. Electra promptly fed the babies who were sitting up straight and polite wanting their lunch. The fish is between Electra’s feet – it really is small.
So Electra took it upon herself to leave the two wee ones on the nest and off she went to fill the pantry – and she did! Electra had a really good feed on that fish. She was hungry and she fed the little ones, too.
As the sun sets, everyone has had several fish meals. Electra corrals the two little ones under her so she can keep them warm over night.
And, guess what? Wattsworth comes in Friday morning with another tiny tiny fish for Electra and the kids.
And speaking of fish, Jack must be really happy to have Tiny Tot defending the natal nest. Jack flew in at 5:30:17 with a nice fish for Tiny Tot.
Tiny Tot immediately grabbed that fish out of dad’s talons and began mantling it. While it didn’t look like there were any intruders or older siblings about who would challenge Tiny Tot for his evening meal, Tiny wasn’t taking any chances.
It was a nice size fish and Tiny ate for quite awhile.
There is a real preciousness in these moments looking at Tiny Tot – so beautiful a juvenile – perched. The golden glow of the setting sun shows off the beautiful plumage.
As the sun went down, Tiny Tot was up on the perch protecting the nest. Sleep tight, Tiny. Have fish dreams!
And early Friday morning, Tiny Tot is defending the nest again against the adult intruder! Poor Tiny.
There was a nice chippie on the nest of Big Red and Arthur. Big Red kept fiddling with it hoping that the Ks would come round to wanting their last meal of the evening. It was 19:00.
They had eaten earlier and had nice crops. Just look how full those Ks are! Those peachy chests make them look like they have swallowed beach balls. Big Red has the chippie ready for a feeding thinking they might want some more but, no. None of them are lining up to be fed with their beaks open. I wonder if Big Red would like a late chippy snack?
“Would you like some of this nice chippie, sweetie?”
Big Red did not have any takers. That had eaten a lot of rabbit earlier and it looks like they just want to sleep. It will be a chipmunk breakfast unless Big Red decides to have a meal after the Ks are asleep – and she probably won’t. She is hardwired to feed those babies of hers.
It’s Friday on the Cornell nest. Big Red is sunning herself on the light stand and it looks like K1 is self-feeding. Wow. Leaving some open prey on the nest has finally enticed this one to dig in there. Good for you, Big Red. We are now moving into two to two and a half weeks til fledge.
Laddie brought in one of those teaser fish – smaller than a Wattsworth Appetizer – to NC0.
She did the best she could with the little fish she had. NC0 your babies are growing and doing great. You’ve grown into being a very good mom. Look at the head of the one grabbing that piece of fish. All of the down on its head is gone. It looks like it got black oil on its head. Reptilian phase is coming!
Your word for the day: nictitating membrane. The word comes from the Latin word nictare meaning to blink. It is a translucent third eyelid. It comes up from the bottom to the top and has been described as acting like a windshield wiper. It cleans the eye and helps produce tears. You can see NC0’s nicitating membrane in the image below.
It looks like it is going to be a nice day in Scotland for NC0, Laddie, and the Bobs. The sun is just coming up. Laddie must be out fishing.
It’s Friday tea time on the Loch of the Lowes Nest and all is well. Laddie has just brought in a brown trout and NC0 is already feeding the Bobs.
Blue 33 (11) was right off the mark. He hauled in one of his whoppers first thing for Maya and the Two Bobs. This along with the big piece of fish left from the evening prior should be a great start to the day for this family whose nest is at Rutland Manton Bay.
Idris was also up early and had a nice fish for Telyn and their two Bobs. At one point it was hard to tell what was happening but it looked like Idris was feeding Telyn. I am told he does this. What a sweetheart!
For sure he did feed the two Bobs some fish.
And as the sun is rising over the Urdaibai Biosphere just 38 minutes outside of Bilbao, Spain, our little albino Osprey is waking up. Zuri is still alive. This is such a rare event – the first known for certain instance in the wild – that everyone will be learning something from this little one. There are rumours going around that the wee one is blind and cannot hear. But, we wait. Clearly its eyes are very sensitive to the light and, yes, if he lives to fledge it will have heavy challenges to overcome because of its plumage. Still, a miracle would not hurt us and this would be a cute one.
The rain has really been pitching down in Spain. Around 13:00 on Friday, a fish came into the nest for Landra. That wee albino one was up there with the other two osplets wanting some fish! In the first image it is facing the opposite way but it moves to get in line with the other two siblings thirty seconds later. Again, a miracle in Spain might be what we all need as some pandemic lockdowns are eased and others as Portugal begins another lockdown. Go little Zuri – eat, grow, teach us.
On Friday there is some thinking that the three have an eye infection. I will keep you posted. That is not clear from the image below taken today. Some of you might recall the eaglets in the Southwest Florida nest, E17 and E18 having conjunctivitis. Fingers crossed. Send warm wishes.
We still have heat warnings on the Canadian Prairies – the sky is blue and the sun is bright. The leaves are getting even more thick and now all the birds that come to my garden are hidden by the vines that grow everywhere or the thick lilic bushes. One thing I will really miss is that lovely lilac scent that enveloped us earlier in the week. The heat has really killed the flowers. Still, it was grand to have them when we did!
Thank you for joining me. Stay safe, stay cool! See you soon. I will be checking on the little one in Urdaibai and Tiny Tot throughout the day.
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I grab my screen shots: Cowlitz PUD, Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, Achieva Credit Union, Scottish Wildlife Trust and Loch of the Lowes. LRWT and Rutland Ospreys, and the Dyfi Osprey Project.
As a child growing up in Oklahoma, I would sit with my dad on the back porch right before dusk. The two of us would feed the ‘Red’ Birds (Cardinals) and the Blue Jays every evening. There were several metal tins sitting on the shelves in the garage full of peanuts, broken pecans, and corn. The broken pecans came from a huge tree across our back lane. Every year my dad would harvest the pecans. Mrs Johnson owned the tree. They had a long standing arrangement. My dad would pick the pecans and she would get half and he would have the other half for picking them. Some of the pecans went to the birds while the large whole pieces were for making fudge and pralines. I don’t know where the corn originally came from. My dad would dry it in the rafters of the garage. When the kernels were absolutely hard, they would be broken off and stored in a tin. Someone that we knew grew fields of peanuts. When they were harvested, my dad would come home with three or four large burlap bags full of them in their shells. The whole garage smelled like peanuts. They too made their way into the metal containers so that we did not attract mice. In the evenings several handfuls would be taken out. If we sat real quiet the red birds would come and take the nuts and corn from my dad’s hand. The Blue Jays were not so trusting.
What I did not see -nor did I ever learn about them – were the hawks that lived in the rolling hills around Central Oklahoma.
Did you know that Red-tail Hawks have 20/2 vision? What does that actually mean? Hawks see something 20 feet away as if it were 2 feet away. That is a whole lot different than humans who aspire to 20/20 vision! No wonder people use the term ‘hawk eye’ for someone who can see something far away clearly. Lots of raptors perch on the blades of the old windmills. It gives them a great vantage point over the landscape to see their prey.
Oklahoma is described as a ‘Red Tail Hawk Paradise’ by Jim Lish in his book, Winter’s Hawk. Red-tails on the Southern Plains. What precisely does Lish mean? Lish wanted to know the density of Red-tail haws and so he counted them. He understood that if you saw a single hawk in a mile you were in ‘Hawk Paradise’. In Oklahoma, the figures ranged from 400 to 1118 per 621 miles. The highest number was in Craig County in 2013. In fact, Oklahoma has some of the highest densities of Red-tail hawks in the winter than anywhere.
The Red Tail Hawks migrate to Oklahoma in early October just as the leaves are beginning to fall from the trees. They depart to their breeding territories in March. This means that half their life is spent in Oklahoma. Important to the hawks are the grasslands and the rodent populations of the Southern Great Plains. Indeed, one of the biggest threats to their populations in Oklahoma is the fragmentation of the vast grasslands caused by a warming climate and sequential years of drought, energy exploration, shifts in the way farms are run, and rapid urbanization. Another issue may well be a declining rodent population.
Red-tail hawks perch in trees to sleep. They are only in the nests during breeding season. The hawk below is high and has a good vantage point to hunt for rodents.
There is a point to this rather long winded story – albeit I hope that you also learned something in my rambling. When I graduated from high school, I was the only one that was not getting married in a few weeks and I was the only female heading off to university. As it happens, the University of Oklahoma in Norman is one of the best places to study raptors, the university press is one of the leading publishers on hawks, and, of course, there is the late George Sutton, one of American’s leading ornithologists right there where I was studying Fine Arts. Not only was he known for his avian research but also for his avian drawings. Oh, if I knew then what I know now! So my point is – we never know what our children’s interests really are unless we introduce them to a broad world of possibilities. Today, the language is even different. Conservation Ecologist. Cultural Ecologist. Not even on the horizon when I was a student. Oh, what a great sounding path in life now!
Which brings me to my most favourite Red-tail Hawk in the world – Big Red. She is eighteen years old. She hatched somewhere new Brooktondale, New York in 2003 and she was banded there on 20 October 2003. She is the grand dame of the Cornell University Campus where her nest is on the Fernow Light Tower. Her current mate is Arthur and the two of them are caring for three eyases, the Ks. Big Red and Arthur do not migrate. For some reason they have gotten used to the ‘normal’ climate of upstate New York at Ithaca and they spend their winters there too. You will never finding them hanging around the tall grasses of Oklahoma.
The weather has been nothing short of ‘wet’ in Ithaca. I don’t even know how Big Red could hold her wing out like that for any period of time. She has to be exhausted and yes, she is a mother to the core. She will do anything to protect her chicks.
Those babies are all piled up but they are too big to get underneath Big Red like they did ten days ago.
Big Red and the Ks caught a break today. That is when this beautiful scene happened – it is K2 hugging her mama.
I am told that we are three to three and a half weeks away from fledge watch. Red tail hawks typically fledge 40-48 days after hatch. Yesterday, 29 May, marks the day that all three Ks stood up and walked a bit. K1 has even flapped its wings a few times. They will build up their strength and start growing those feathers. I know that hawks gain a lot of weight and grow crazy fast but it is still hard to imagine these flying off the ledge so soon.
When the skies cleared, Arthur took the opportunity to bring his family a squirrel – a real treat this breeding season. Seriously, I am worried about the rodent population this season. I wonder what is happening.
Arthur is a keen hunter. Last year, due to the pandemic, the Cornell University campus in Ithaca was fairly deserted. This nest is monitored 24/7. Prey drops are counted and in 2020 Arthur brought in 72% more prey than he had delivered to the nest in 2019. That consisted of chipmunks, squirrels, and pigeons and a few other species. The presence of humans back on the campus appears to have impacted the rodent population and the amount of prey delivery. This is just my observation and I hope to clarify this with a look at the prey delivery chart this week.
Arthur delivered this squirrel in time for Big Red to fill the Ks up because both her and Arthur knew that heavy rains were returning. Indeed, some said it was quite the system moving through and that it had already destroyed some Osprey nests. It certainly is unseasonably cool. Tonight it is only 43 degrees F – freezing is 32! Ferris Akel commented yesterday on his birding tour that he had to change his HVAC system back to heating. After tonight there is only an 8% chance of rain but the winds will be picking up tomorrow. My gosh it is cold there.
Big Red loves being a mama. Here she is with her beautiful Ks trying to dry out today. That is the baby, K3, under Big Red. Did you know that, beginning in the medieval era, falconers believed that the third egg was always a male. Today, a male hawk is called a ‘tercel’. It comes from the word ‘third’. We also know that male hawks are smaller than the females. It’s that Reverse Sex-Size diamorphism again. We’ll have to have a good look at K3 around fledge time.
And here is adorable K2 posing for us. And here is your word for the day: cere. See the light yellow area above the nostrils and that sharp black beak? That is the cere. Those two black dots on each side of K2’s head, below the eyes, are actually its ears. These will be covered with feathers by the time K2 fledges. And what about their eye colour? That is very interesting. The eye colour of a juvenile is normally a range of blue-grey. Adult Red-tail Hawks have brown eyes and that brown gets darker with age. Last year, however, J3 had brown eyes! They were gorgeous and very distinctive. K2 has beautiful baby blues.
It rained during the night on Big Red and the Ks – again. But by 9:30 am they were dried out. Notice the pine in the nest? It is a natural insect repellent! It helps keeps the bugs down and we don’t want any flies laying their larvae in those precious ears.
Bird World is relatively quiet. The only breaking news I have is that Kaknu has now fledged (30 May) and was flying around with his brother, Fauci, near the Campanile Tower on the UC Berkeley Campus. When I last checked Wek-Wek was still on the runway debating whether to take off. It has to be frightening – but they are birds, the fastest flying birds in the world!
Thank you so much for joining me. Take care of yourself. Have a fabulous Monday.
Thank you to the Cornell Bird Lab for their Red-Tail Hawk streaming cam. That is where I obtained my screen shots.
Oh, there are so many happy people today. The Glaslyn Wildlife Center started the streaming cam on Aran, Mrs G and chicks 2 & 3 at 8am this morning. Thanks to the advice of Dr Tim Mackrill, the staff, and all the volunteers for jumping in there and doing what they could to save this iconic Osprey family. It worked. Aran is getting stronger, Mrs G is getting stronger, and the two remaining chicks are thriving. Just look at the fish on that nest – what wonderful people.
Aran is on the perch protecting the nest from intruders – and there still remain intruders!
Aran is one handsome Osprey with that beautiful crest of his.
So many were relieved and that soon turned to a state of elation when Aran accepted the fish.
Mrs G is also alert to the intruders.
No one ever imagined these little ones could go without food for at least two days. They did. Chicks 2 and 3 survived. It is not clear what happened to the first hatch but it died late Sunday afternoon after eating all day. But, it is time for the joy and everyone is rejoicing that there are 2 strong little ones left!
Here is a really good look at those two plump strong little chicks of Mrs G and Aran. Gosh, just look at them with those strong necks and wings and little fat bottoms. My goodness I never would have imagined.
Everything seems to be going pretty well up at Loch of the Lowes. NC0 took a break and had Laddie doing incubation. Laddie appears to be very uncomfortable around the chicks but he stepped up to the job and did it well. He is keeping the nest supplied with fish and the two remaining chicks are looking good – albeit one much smaller than the other. NC0 is a first time mom and let us hope that she makes sure the little one gets food at every meal. I have to say I am worried because that tiny one is so thin. I hope I am worried for nothing. Sadly we have already lost one chick, the last hatch, on this nest. It would certainly be nice if these both fledged.
Over at the Clywedog Nest with Dylan and Seren, there is one healthy chick and we are waiting for egg 2 to begin to pip. Tonight? Possibly.
Seren is restless. She can hear the chick in the egg. But, stop for a moment and look at Seren’s gorgeous yellow eyes. They are stunners.
A mysterious unringed Osprey has appeared on the Loch Arkaig Nest. Look at that fabulous dark plumage. Surely someone recognizes this Osprey as it is so distinctive.
Blue 33 (11) brings in an early morning fish delivery for Maya and the Two Bobs over at the Rutland Manton Bay nest. These two are really in the growth phase.
The two chicks of Idris and Telyn are doing fantastic. They sure know what to do when mom walks over to the fish! Lunch time!
Lined up nicely! Idris brought in another one of his whoppers – actually he has brought in several. One just about knocked the poor babies right off the nest.
It is sure good to see these Welsh nests drying out from all of the rain and wind last week.
Going stealth like a Peregrine Falcon from Wales to San Francisco and all eyes are on the tower of the Campanile on the UC Berkeley campus today. It is fledge watch for Annie and Grinnell’s three boys and Fauci has been on the ledge since yesterday! While Fauci is occupied with ‘the world out there’, the other two, Kaknu and Wek-Wek, are having their lunch.
I put in an arrow so you can see where Fauci is on the ledge. He moves, of course!
Here is the link to the fledging camera:
In Ithaca, the skies opened up to some torrential rains last evening and Big Red rushed to get the Ks under cover.
The sun came out Thursday morning and everyone was floofed by breakfast.
Just about three weeks to fledge. Time has melted this year. These three are standing and getting their legs strong and attempting to walk. Soon they will be running and flapping all over the ledge. Everyone needs a pocket of worry beads then.
Around 6pm on 26 May, the Raven arrived at Iris’s nest in Hellgate while she was away. It took all of Iris’s eggs and ate them.
The mist is rising over the mountains in Missoula this morning. It is a new day for Iris. She is no longer tied to the nest because of the eggs. She is now free to enjoy her summer fishing and building up her strength for her long migration in early September. While many would like Iris to have had a loyal supportive mate, the fact is, she doesn’t. She hasn’t since Stanley died and she won’t as long as Louis is alive. Is it better for the Raven to eat the eggs or the chicks starve on the nest? For me, there is no question – let the Raven have them.
There is no reason for Iris to be at the nest so we will not see her as much. But, last year she stopped by once in awhile even just before she migrated. So fingers crossed. Catch fish, get really healthy, enjoy your summer break, Iris – you certainly have earned it.
If I pulled the image below out of a pile of photographs, would you recognize these two beauties? They are both standing and walking now, their juvenile plumage is really coming in with all its peach and they certainly don’t look like reptiles anymore – ah, that was a hint. Yes they are the chicks of The Landings Osprey Nest on Skidaway Island in the ‘Peach’ State of Georgia. Gosh, Rhett and Scarlett make beautiful babies. Goodness.
The Achieva Osprey Nest has settled into a routine. In the morning Jack brings a fish for sibling 2 and Diane brings a fish for Tiny Tot. It means they both have a nice meal in the morning. This method is working and 2 is not ‘hogging’ all of the fish that come on the nest. The parents maintain this effort 2 or 3 times a day. Tiny Tot remains on the nest and is still doing its practice flights. This is one smart fledgling! Sibling 2 is in and out, mostly coming for fish. He must roost somewhere close to the nest.
After sibling 2 departs, Tiny Tot decides he is going to get up there and try out that perch! These days are precious. Tiny won’t necessarily give us any warning. One morning he will go for a flight and he will be off on his journey.
The only osplet on the Lake Murray Nest in New Hampshire is being well taken care of – just look at that crop! That ‘little’ one looks like he is trying out for the role of Hulk in some new movie. Lucy and Ricky have certainly taken good care of their only chick! Mom has a big crop too. Fantastic! This is the way it should be.
It is really green in Minnesota just like it is here on the Canadian prairies. We have had a good rain. Harry and Nancy’s two are soaked through. Don’t think they plan on leaving the nest today!
For those of you who watched Kisatchie hatch and grow up on this historical nest near Lake Kincaid in the Kisatchie National Park, it has been a great disappointment that he did not return to the nest after his fledge on 22 May. The Wildlife Services have had no sightings of Kistachie up to yesterday. The streaming cam will remain on until 11 June at which time it will be shut off until next season. The adult eagles, Anna and Louis, will migrate north to cooler weather returning in the fall.
The Bald Eagle juveniles that are ready might get the same phone call telling them it is time to leave their natal nests. Legacy’s nest is empty as is the nest of E17 and E18. Both of the fledglings at Duke Farms are now away.
Thank you for joining me today. It is a blessing getting to watch these birds live their lives day after day meeting enormous challenges. Thank you to the people at Glaslyn for their fortitude.
Thanks go to the following organizations or companies who streaming cams provide my screen shots: Achieva Credit Union, Cornell Bird Lab and Skidaway Audubon, Cornell Bird Lab and Montana Osprey Project, Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, UC Falcon Cam, LRWT, Scottish Woodland Trust and People Postcode Lottery, Clywedog, Scottish Wildlife Trust and Loch of the Lowes, Lake Murray Ospreys, KNF, MN DNR, Dyfi Osprey Project, and last, but not least, Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife.