Baiting mice to save birds

You would not normally find me jumping up and down because an entire island was covered with rodenticide to kill mice – but I am today. The Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels and the Gough Island Restoration announced that the first bait drop on Gough Island is complete. They are hoping for good weather so they can complete the second bait application. So what is this all about?

“File:Gough island top view.png” by Photo: Steven Chown is licensed under CC BY 2.5

Gough Island is a tiny, 35 square mile volcanic and rather rugged British Protectorate, in the South Atlantic Ocean. It is home to some of the most beautiful sea birds in the world such as the Tristan Albatross. Each year over 2 million seabirds are killed by ‘invasive non-native house mice’, according to the Gough Island Restoration Committee. Close your eyes and imagine a mouse biting and eating one one poor albatross chick – and then imagine the horror of 2 million! The mice, who were brought onto the island in the nineteenth century by humans, are now so big that they are even attacking and killing the adult birds.

Below is the image of an adult bird with a deep injury from the mice. She is still trying to take care of her chick. The mother dies on Gough Island on 28 April 2021. She was ringed in 1986 and was the second oldest female on Gough Island. So very, very sad to have survived that long and to be killed this way.

@ P. Ryan
@ R. Daling

So how do you get rid of an island full of mice? The Gough Island Restoration Committee is using helicopters to spread cereal bait pellets containing a rodenticide across the island. At the same time they are working to safeguard the land birds during the operation until the baiting of the mice is complete. We wish them well on this historic endeavour.

For those of you wondering about Big Red’s K3, he is fine. He may give us all ulcers before he leaves his parent’s territory! A bit of a daredevil that one and so tiny the wind just picks him up and off he goes! K1 is fine as well.

Tiny Tot had a nice big fish this morning and fought off another intruder.

And what is so different about this ousting is that Tiny Tot had a fish in his talons! I am certain that adult bird believed it could take that fish away from a juvenile but Tiny told them! Don’t mess with me! This little one is getting really street smart.

There was something I noticed about Tiny Tot this morning I want to share with you. Look at the top of Tiny Tot’s head. I have mentioned the white ‘V’ earlier but look – a heart! I like to think that heart is there from all the love everyone sent this tiny baby when it was starving.

But I am also pointing this out for a reason. We need to memorize the features on Tiny Tot’s head. He is not ringed so we have to identify him in other ways. The patterns are becoming clear and this will be the only way that someone will recognize him in the future – if he ever leaves the nest, which I am hoping he doesn’t.

The little Golden Eaglet in Bucovina is also fine. The father is becoming more comfortable with the camera and is delivering small snack-like prey to the eaglet several times a day. This is so positive in terms of the survival of this beautiful eaglet. Here is the little eaglet today with a nice crop.

Thank you so much for joining me today. Fingers crossed all around for the success of the Gough Island Restoration! Have a wonderful weekend all.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots today: Achieva Credit Union, Asociatia Wild Bucovina, and the Gough Island Restoration Information Page where I grabbed the photos of the injured adult Tristan Albatross.

Credit for the feature image goes to: “Tristan da Cunha-12-010-albatross on Nightingale Tristan in background-Credit Paul Tyler and Alison Rothwell)” by darwin_initiative is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Tiny does a flying tour, Big Red goes after mites, and Taiki gets a feeding

What do you do when you are anxious? Do you twist your hair? pick at your fingernails? doodle? I tend to clean house. You can always tell if there is something worrying me by the state of the floors. My mother was the “cleaniest” person I have ever met. You could eat off of any part of the floor, walls, any part of the bathroom – it was spotless and sanitary! I recall when I gave pottery lessons in rural Manitoba that one of the students, the most lovely woman who was moving to Williams Lake, BC, gave me a book as a parting gift. I can see the cover – it was yellow – and inside it had a lot of funny sayings another potter had jotted down over the years. One stuck out, “You can certainly eat off my floor, there are the Cheerios over there, the grapes over there…” etc. you get the drift. My floors are not that bad but they certainly would not stand the scrutiny of my mother all the time!

So today I have been avoiding thinking about the Glaslyn Osprey Nest of Mrs G and Aran in Wales. Instead of the floors, I have actually picked lilacs and my house smells like I am living outside in the middle of the bushes. It is hard to put Glaslyn out of one’s head. Mrs G has not eaten since Thursday – or perhaps Wednesday night. Thursday she had a fish tail under her that she fed to Bob 1 and 2. 3 wasn’t there yet. The weather turned, the Crows attacked, and here we are today. Aran has lost primary feathers and is not able to fish. He has been flying around the nest keeping Osprey intruders at bay. Mrs G has not removed the body of Bob 1 who died yesterday of starvation. It is truly a sad situation and unless fish jumped out of the sky, I simply cannot see the little ones surviving. Indeed, the one with the biggest chance could be the youngest. On top of this, Bob 3 at the Loch of the Lowes Nest is quite small compared to Bob 1 and 2 and Nessie is inexperienced. —— I do like a Walt Disney ending but, gosh, it is the real world and it just shows how much weather and climatic changes impact these fish eagles.

My mood is always made lighter by several other nests. So let us have a look at them. With Tiny Tot back on the nest, he has been quite the character today. I think Diane has a ‘soft spot’ for Tiny. After 2 had his fish this morning, Diane brought Tiny a whopper. He was still eating it an hour later. Then tonight, as I write this, the two of them are just finishing up another fish together. Earlier, Tiny had rushed 2 to try and steal a fish that hit the nest around 4pm. Tiny sure gave it a go and I am proud of him even if he didn’t succeed. What he decided to do was to do a fly around the nest and gosh, I figured out how to record it. So easy! Now I can share it with you. Thirty-three seconds of Tiny Tot flying. He has now done this several times. It will strengthen his wings but he won’t get lost! This kiddo is one smart cookie. After Tiny Tot leaves the nest, it will be a nano second or two til he comes around on the right. He will look like a small bird, he will turn to the left before the trees and head back. Beautiful take off and landing.

Tiny Tot does a 33 second fly around the nest and back. 24 May 2021

Tiny is simply one gorgeous, creative, persistent, patient, and alert fledgling. He will always have a place in my heart. He ranks up there with WBSE 26 for tenacity!

I also spent some time watching Big Red. Gosh, she just looks so adoringly at the Ks, just like she does every clutch, every year. She simply glows being a ‘bird mom’. The Ks are starting to stand and become mobile. Today two were interested in small bits of prey on the nest and each and everyone of them did not want their ears cleaned! The ears are on the sides of their head but they are not covered with feathers yet. Because of that, Big Red has to make sure that they are clean – just like my mother’s house – so that their hearing is not impaired. None of the Ks appreciates it when she does this! Take a good long look at them. We are three and a half weeks away from fledge!

Here is the oldest one, K1, standing. My how clean those pantaloons are.

Wonder if I can eat this???????? That little dimple, by the way, behind the eye is the ear.

Big Red is telling K2 to just hold still, it will only take a minute! K3 is waiting its turn.

Taiki, the Royal Albatross chick on Taiaroa Head, New Zealand is nothing short of adorable. Her names means ‘protector and carer of the land, the sky, and the sea’. She looks like a big fluffy cotton ball. All that fluff will begin to come off to reveal the huge wings she will need to stay flying over the ocean for five or six years before returning to land. Yes, you read that right. Once Taiki fledges, she will not return here to her natal nesting area – until she is five or six years old. She will return as a juvenile in December then and begin looking for a mate! That can also take a few years.

Today, Taiki is 121 days old. She is halfway to the average fledge of 240 days. In August Taiki will begin to hover and really put those wings through their paces. For now she does her exercises while she waits for a parent to fly in and feed her.

Here is a great little video, 14 minutes, of the parent arriving – I believe it is her dad, Lime Green Black – to give her a feeding of squid.

Oh, I hope you have enjoyed having a little glimpse at three amazing species of birds – the Ospreys, the Red Tail Hawks, and the Southern Royal Albatross. Each are at a different stage in their development. Thank you so much for joining me. I would like to be able to promise you that there will be good news from the UK Osprey nests tomorrow but, I can’t. The winds are whipping around and no one knows how long it will take Aran to heal so that he can fish.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I grab my screen shots and videos: Achieva Credit Union, Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, and Cornell Bird Lab and NZ DOC.

Wednesday up and downs in Bird World

Wednesday started off with the sudden death of EE2 at the White-tail Eagle Nest in Estonia. The little one was up, bright and cheery at 4:04 and then gone. There has been a lot of speculation. A heat wave went through the area with temperatures doing from 1 to 26 degrees C in a day. Those dramatic changes can put stress on wildlife. Eve and Eerik had plenty of food and the eaglets were, as far as I could tell, growing and filling up the egg cup. Yes, there could have been a toxin and for sure, everyone has been watching EE1 closely. It could also have been a tragic accident of some sort. We won’t know because the body of the little one will not be taken – so I am going to stop speculating myself and hope that EE1 thrives and fledges. EE1 was fed five times between 13:22 and 19:14 and appears healthy.

The three eyases of Annie And Grinnell were banded today. The chick on the left has been banded. The one whose wings are back and looks totally frightened is just getting ready to be banded. It looks a little frightened.

The eyases receive two bands. One is metal and has a 9 digit aluminum band. There is a second coloured band with four digits that is unique to Peregrine Falcons in the SF Bay region. No gloves are used in the banding process so that the banders can handle the birds safely. Banding helps with studies in survival and movement. It does not hurt the birds.

The three are all males.

The banding was an on line event with two people from the centre answering questions as they discussed the process. You can see the whole procedure here and listen to the questions being answered:

Can you tell which of the two ospreys on the nest is Tiny Tot?

Oh, my, that bird has grown! Someone looking over my shoulder said, ‘The one with the beard!’ Well, if those feathers were smoothed down, it sure would be hard to pick Tiny out because Tiny isn’t Tiny anymore. Tiny Tot needs to grow some more feathers for flight. Look at sibling #2 at the back. See the length of the wing tip feathers? And the next layer? It would be really good if Tiny got all that feather growth before setting out on its own. Hopefully Tiny will hang around the nest, as #2 has done, to get some more flight training and to let the parents, Jack and Diane, feed it.

Sibling #2 is on the perch post eating a fish and Tiny Tot has just acquired the 3:47 pm fish delivery. No doubt s/he is going to be really full! Look at the size of that fish!

Big Red and Arthur’s little ones are doing fine. K3 really is a corker. Poor thing. I watched it yesterday when it got behind siblings 1 and 2 and wasn’t getting any bites. Oh, that little one – not scared at all – pecked at that big sib. I was rolling with laughter. It was like a comedy routine. Early this morning, for the first feeding, K3 was up front. It takes a few days to figure out the strategy but those little ones have spunk and drive. No one needs to worry about getting fed on Big Red’s nest!

This nest has a lot of different food items for the Ks. Believe it or not, at this age, they are already imprinting those birds and mammals so that when they are older, they will know that it is OK to eat them. The eyases have to pack a lot of knowledge into a few short months.

Big Red goes off for a break. It is a nice warm day. Arthur delivers a grey squirrel and then returns with a Starling! Everything is fine on the nest of the Ks.

I did a quick check on the little osplets on the Savannah nest. They had nice crops – both of them – around 13:30 – left over from the earlier feeding.

The second sibling is getting a nice feed from mom. That is nice to see. There remains some rivalry that can be unpleasant at times.

The image below was taken yesterday, 11 May. It is Iris and for those of you who do not know, Iris got her name from the specks in her right eye. You can see them clearly below. So, even without any band, everyone knows that this is Iris!

Iris did not incubate the eggs in the nest last night nor did she spend the night on the perch. In fact, she left her nest in good time to go and get herself a good fish dinner and did not return until this morning.

Iris had a nice fish breakfast before heading over to the nest nearby.

Iris returned to the nest at 6:42. She had been away at least twelve hours. Iris is taking care of herself.

As the graduate student at the UC Falcon Cam said today when asked if Annie and Grinnell would remember the banding every year. He said, “Birds have memories.” There is no doubt in my mind that Iris is chained to her hormones during the breeding season. She migrates to Montana and begins working on her nest. She lays eggs regardless or not of mating. She has some urge to incubate them BUT no doubt, over the past four or five years she remembers what has happened. Perhaps she remembers and isn’t caring so much this year? I cannot answer that. Perhaps she knows that both of those eggs are not fertile. ——- I just want to continue to enjoy seeing her. She is an amazing Osprey.

Legacy at the NE Florida Bald Eagle Cam in Jacksonville was waiting for a food drop this morning.

Isn’t ‘he’ gorgeous? He, you ask. The reasoning is in part because of the ‘flat’ head but more important the mandible – the yellow portion of the beak/mouth does not extend to 90% of the back of the eye. I hope that makes sense. Instead, the bright yellow area below stops almost level with the front of the eye. Take your finger to see – and then notice how much longer it would be if it extended to the back of the eye. Are you a boy, Legacy? Of course, there is never 100% certainty unless a DNA test is taken or you see Legacy lay an egg but, it is a good indicator.

Samson came in with a fish delivery at 2:11:32 and he got out of Legacy’s way fast!

Wow. By 2:31 – twenty minutes later – there is hardly anything left of that fish! Good work, Legacy. You are a pro at self-feeding.

I want to close with a look at a power couple in the Osprey world: Maya and Blue 33 (11). Blue 33 (11) has brought a fish to Maya so she can feed the two Bobs.

There was mention about Blue 33 (11) and this nest at Mantou Bay at Rutland. Tiger Mozone said something very ensightful: “Blue 33 (11) not only wanted the nest but Maya, too.” Right on. As Tiger pointed out, Maya had first been paired with 32 (05) who was shot. Then she was with 5R (04) but he didn’t return in 2014. In 2014, Maya paired with 28 (10) who Tiger calls Wonky Wing – Blue 33 (11) made short shift of him evicting him from the nest. Maya and Blue 33 (11) did not breed that year but they started in 2015 and have since had twenty-one chicks!!!!!!!! Blue 33 (11) knew a good female as well as a good nest.

Look at those healthy Bobs. I cannot think of a better way to end the day than seeing these two strong future ospreys.

Thank you for joining me today. It is nice to have you here with me.

Thanks to the following for their streaming cams where I get my screen shots: LRWT, NEFlorida Eagle cam and the AEF, Montana Osprey Project, Cornell Bird Lab, Skidaway Audubon, Achieva Credit Union, UC Falcons, and the Eagle Club of Estonia.

Saturday Nest Hopping

As many of you know, I have a ‘soft’ spot for several of our avian friends and clearly, Legacy, Tiny ‘Biggie’ Tot, and the Ks are at the top of that list but, in truth, there are so many amazing birds that have brought me joy that it is impossible to give each one of them the air time that they truly deserve. That said, Tiny is going to fledge in about a week. Legacy is still home but it won’t be long until she is gone into the big world, too. That is why I am spending so much time with them.

Tiny Tot working his wings. 7:15 pm. 8 May 2021

This morning Legacy really lucked out. At 9:30:16, she sees her parent coming in with food and she starts squealing. She flies down to the nest six seconds later to retrieve that fish from her dad, Samson.

Then at 2:43:25 Legacy starts squealing again. She flew down from her branch so quickly that she sent Samson off the nest with the fish. He had to come around and land again. Wow, it was a whopping piece of nice fresh fish. Legacy will be full until tomorrow for sure!

That is a really large chunk of fish that Samson has brought Legacy.

Legacy is learning how to hold the fish with all of her talons so it is easier to eat and doesn’t move around and so that no one steals her dinner!

Oh, Legacy is doing a really good job with the self-feeding.

Legacy’s crop is as full as it can be! Isn’t she just gorgeous?

Richmond is busy bringing in fish for Rose and the gang. Like all the dads, he loves the head. He has nice crop. Richmond is a great provider. It looks like Rosie is keeping the toys and hats out of the nest for now.

There they are. Three tiny little Ospreys.

Aran brought in a really nice flounder for Mrs G today in celebration of Mother’s Day. There are the three eggs that Mrs G is incubating.

Big Red and the Ks are beginning to dry out. Oh, it has been a soggy couple of days on this Red-tail Hawk nest.

Precious. Well behaved. Big Red always has everything under control.

Blue 33 (11) brought in a nice fish for Maya to feed ‘Little Bob’. There he is not even a day old. Oh, so cute.

The two little ones at The Landings Skidaway Island Osprey nest are growing.

Can you find them? Look carefully.

Still looking a little reptilian.

You can see the big crop on the eldest one and the youngest still being submissive in the image below. These little ones learn quickly – if they survive – to keep their head down, let the dominant one eat, and then go for it. So, like Tiny Tot they wait, listen, and get ready to jump.

And there is the little one getting a nice feed.

Tiny ‘Biggie’ Tot is enjoying a nice fish meal as I type this. Indeed, Tiny has had a lot of fish today. He might have even had more if it had not been for sibling #2 losing a whole catfish off the edge of the nest. This last delivery came at 8:11:58. You can just hear Tiny Tot squealing, “It’s mine”. If you look you will notice that Tiny still has a crop from earlier in the day.

Jack is so funny. He really is not comfortable feeding the kids. He keeps looking around for Diane. Meanwhile, Tiny must be thinking “just give me the fish, I can feed myself.” Turns out Jack is OK at feeding the little one.

Tiny is still being fed as the IR camera comes on and the sun is going down in St Petersburg.

This is a lovely image of Tiny Tot by Diane with sibling #2 eating its fish in the back. I want to try and get a really good front image of Tiny tomorrow. It appears that Tiny is getting a dark necklace. If that is the case, I am going to have to stop calling Tiny ‘Biggie’ Tot a ‘he’.

Tiny’s wings are getting so big and the tail feathers are growing nicely. The plentiful food in the last couple of weeks has made a big difference in Tiny’s life.

Thank you for joining me as we hopped, skipped, and jumped from nests today. Take care and all the best.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams. That is where I get my screen shots. They are: Achieva Credit Union, Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, Cornell Bird Lab and Skidaway Audubon, Golden Gate Audubon Ospreys, NE Florida Eagle Cam and the AEF, LRWT Rutland Osprey Project, and Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife.

Feed me!

All of the babies, old and new, were wanting food this morning. Just a quick hop through Bird World on a Monday morning to check on how our friends are doing this Monday.

The first egg at the Dahlgren Osprey Nest in Machodoc and William’s Creek in King George, Virginia hatched on 2 May, Sunday. Jack brought in a fish when Harriet was getting the little one ready for a feeding today and about pulled the baby out of the nest cup! Squint. The little one is right below Harriet’s beak.

3 May 2021. Harriet is feeding the little one. Jack just brought in a fish – not a toy!

Big Red fed K1 this morning. Arthur had a part of a rabbit in the pantry and there was also the remaining Starling that Big Red had for dinner last night.

Big Red is always so gentle with her babies picking off tiny pieces of meat to try and fit in their little beaks.

Eve and Eerik’s little ones are growing and they are always ready for a good feed! They are now old enough to understand what all of this is about. Cute little bobble heads.

Annie and Grinnell’s trio are already grabbing prey and wanting to start self feeding. My goodness the marshmallows have really turned that pigeon into falcon over the past week.

If Tiny ‘Biggie’ Tot was not being harassed by Blue Jays this morning, he was eating! Looks like two fish deliveries before 11am for the Achieva Osprey Nest. Both of its siblings have fledged but Tiny ‘Biggie’ Tot still has some feather development to go before fledge. I would also like for him to stay around a bit. What joy it has been to see this lovely osprey survive and begin to thrive.

The two little osplets at The Landings, Skidaway Island Osprey Nest had a nice fresh fish this morning. The oldest has been fed and now it is time for the youngest! Both of them are doing well.

The Royal Cam Chick lucked out. On 1 May, she had a double feeding from her parents LGL and LGK. How grand. Notice how she takes her bill and clacks on the side of the parent’s bill. It stimulates the parent to be able to feed the chick. LGL arrived first followed quickly by LGK.

LGL comes in to feed her precious chick. 1 May 2021

The parent regurgitates the squid and channels inside their bills allow for the little one to catch the rich liquid shake.

LGL leans over so that the Princess can get every drop of the rich squid liquid. 1 May 2021

The Royal Cam princess almost had a family reunion. The parents arrived and left within minutes of one another!

The Princess is always happy to see her dad, LGK. 1 May 2021.

Oh, the green leaves of the Minnesota forest look so good. It is still cold on the Canadian prairies where the leaves are only ‘thinking’ about bursting out. It is 6 degrees C this morning with a grey dreary sky.

The two eaglets of Harry and Nancy are growing and starting to self-feed. Do you remember when we wondered if Harry would ever catch on to what his duties were as dad to these two? Seems he was a fast learner!

E17 and E18, the juvenile Bald Eagles of Harriet and M15 at the SW Florida Bald Eagle Nest on the Pritchett Farm in Fort Myers seem to never be in need of food. Food drops are frequent with one getting all the prey and sometimes they even share!

They have had some unusual items on the buffet table including a heron chick the other day.

That is a wonderful crop on E18 who managed to keep the entire fish delivery to himself. You might still remember when E17 was bonking the daylights out of its younger sibling. That, of course, stopped and if eagles can be buddies then these two are best mates.

Kisatachie is busy cleaning up the leftovers brought in on Sunday. My goodness this eaglet is growing up quickly. Do you remember when Kisatchie and his mom, Anna, couldn’t quite figure out how to feed and eat? or when Louis had 18 fish stacked up in the pantry? I am sure there were a few other nests that would have loved some of the fish he brought on to this nest! Kisatchie will be fledging soon.

Someone mentioned to me how Legacy and Kistachie seem so lonely. Bald Eagles by their nature are loners. They spend hours and hours sitting and waiting for prey. I have learned that this is just their way of life and not to put on human feelings on the eagles.

And while all the others are chowing down, Legacy is waiting for a parent to return and bring some prey. I am so glad that she is staying on her nest. The camera mods said Legacy still had some food in her crop yesterday so she is not starving despite her squealing. Still, it would be very reassuring to us ‘aunties and uncles’ to see a parent bring in some food. Gabby and Samson were seen together at The Lumberyard last night around 8:30 so both of the parents are safe and sound. I am human and I worry – but there are lessons from Legacy’s parents that she will need to help her survive in the real world of eagles when food will not be scarce. I am breathing knowing that they raised a beautiful juvenile to fledge and that Samson and Gabby will carry her through to full independence.

Legacy is not the only eaglet waiting for a food drop or a feeding. The trio at the Pittsburg Hays Bald Eagle Nest ate so much on 2 May that they still have crops this morning. It is pitching down rain in Pittsburg and they are all cuddled together. Sometimes one or another will go over and pick at some of the bones left on the nest just like Legacy was finding old fish tails yesterday embedded in the nest.

Ah, wow. I had no more than finished loading the image above and a parent flew onto the nest with prey for the trio. Yippeeee. Maybe I should go back and check on Legacy!

Thank you so much for joining me today! I am so glad that you are enjoying what is going on in Bird World. There is so much happening. Today was a skip around the nests but more attention will be paid to Big Red and her brood once all are hatched and to the Manitoba Peregrine Falcons who have been breeding on The Golden Boy on top of our Legislative Building downtown.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I grab my screen shots: NEFlorida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF, UC Falcon Cam, Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, Eagle Club of Estonia, Cornell Bird Lab and the NZ DOC, Achieva Credit Union, Dahlgren Osprey Cam, MN DNR, SW Florida and D Pritchett, Pittsburg Hays Bald Eagle Cam, KNF Eagle Cam, and Cornell Bird Lab and Skidaway Audubon.

Joy in Bird World – Legacy is home! (updated with video)

This morning at 10:41:31 Legacy, the fledgling of Samson and Gabby at the NE Florida Bald Eagle cam came home to her natal nest. Joy rang out through the community.

Legacy is calling out to her parents who, on any other day, would have been waiting for her at the nest tree! She is tired and hungry. What a relief! Samson is going to be over joyed to bring Legacy a fish!!!!!!! Legacy is calling and calling. She is ready for a snack. I hope Gabby and Samson are nearby soon.

Deb Steyck put together a video of the return. Here is the link:

It is 2:48pm EDT on the Northeast Florida Bald Eagle nest in Jacksonville. Legacy continues to call for her parents. Oh, how I wish I knew bird calls better! There are lots of songbirds but a few unusual calls and Legacy seems to have settled in to wait for the arrival of a parent. I was so afraid that she was going to leave. Hopefully – for all of us – she is tired and hungry and will stick to that nest til Samson or Gabby appears. Oh, what a relief to have our girl home!

As we celebrate the great joy and relief it is to see Legacy, in north Wales today people are wondering what is happening to the care and kindness for wildlife. The Lyn Brenig Osprey Nest was destroyed by an individual or individuals arriving in a boat in the dark. The mated pair from last year did not return and the community was so excited when a new couple came to the platform and laid an egg. Now that egg and nest are completely destroyed. The Ospreys that were there are, hopefully, not traumatized and will relocate to a nearby nest in which a dummy egg has been placed to entice them. How sad for everyone. The person or persons responsible would have know the area well. Indeed, they might even live on the lake and for reasons of their own decided to rid the lake of these wonderful birds that Wales is trying so hard to reintroduce. The North Wales Police are out in force to find the persons responsible for this destruction.

And the continued well being of Tiny turned ‘Biggie’ Tot continues on the Achieva Osprey Nest. The first fish delivery was at 11:23:06 and it looks like Biggie Tot got the majority of it. This is nothing short of a miracle. This little one survived three days without food several times – and in total – 12 full days without food. Tiny is now growing and putting on weight. So good to see. Tiny is truly a survivor.

The other news on the Achieva Osprey Nest is the fledge of sibling #2. It was a magnificent take off with a crash landing right on Tiny Biggie Tot.

There she goes! It is 6:57:10.

Oops. The return was at 7:04:43. I don’t think Tiny ‘Biggie’ Tot was impressed.

Take care everyone. I will be checking in on the nests later today. Thank you for joining me.

Thank you to the Achieva Credit Union and the NE Florida and the AEF streaming cams where I grabbed my screen shots. Thank you also to the North Wales Wildlife Trusts for the images of the destroyed nest at Lyn Brenig. Truly a tragedy for the community.

When you just think it can’t get any better, it does in Bird World!

Two miracles so far today.

Saturday morning started out like any other on the Achieva Osprey Nest. Jack brought in a fish and sibling #2 got it. It was predictable. As I sipped my coffee it seemed that Diane and Jack really needed a meat saw somewhere to cut those fish into chunks so each of their three chicks could have a nice chunk for breakfast.

There they are: #2 with the fish on the front left, #1 behind mum, Diane in the middle, and Tiny Tot smiling out at us with his sort of ‘beard’ on the right front.

#2 sibling loves for Mum to feed it and for some reason she didn’t get the message that you should stand on that fish and mantle if you don’t want to lose it.

Tiny, looking all innocent, decides he will just edge a little closer to that fish.

Gosh. I would have loved to be inside Tiny Tot’s head for the split second it took him to steal that fish from the big sibling that has caused him so much grief in his short life.

He must have been so excited as he worked to mantle and pull that fish over to the side.

Could sibling #2, the biggest on the nest, really believe that Tiny Tot had taken her fish?!

#2 must be thinking, ‘What just happened?’ Clearly, Tiny Tot is not nearly as intimidated by #2 in the last few days as he was earlier.

Maybe Diane told #2 that she would never be able to fly if she kept on eating so much! I honestly don’t know what happened but #2 didn’t beat, bonk, battle. Maybe it was still full from the night before.

The two older sibs are 52 days old by my counting. Fledge watch begins at 60 days. And remember, fledging is just the first flight. It doesn’t mean they are gone forever. They have to perfect their flying skills and fishing. You can expect to see Diane and Jack supplementing their fishing, too.

Wow. You can’t get much cuter than those fluffy little marshmallows over at the UC Berkeley Falcon Cam. That fourth egg is sitting there. Maybe it will be a threesome for Annie and Grinnell. They are so cute and growing so fast. There is a third one, tucked between the two.

The cam at the Big Sur California Condor nest is solar powered and it is currently down. We have no idea what is happening with that egg of Redwood Queen’s and Phoenix. Will report back later.

It is hot in Wales and Mrs G has been doing some food calling from the Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife Nest. Aran came in but there have been intruders about. Hopefully he will get her a nice fish before the sun sets. She must be awfully hot on that nest.

Arthur is on incubation duties on the Red Tail Hawk cam so that his mate, Big Red can have a break. It’s a sunny 18 degrees in Ithaca, New York today. It is a nice change from the snowy-hail these two had the other day.

Toni Castelli-Rosen has kept a laying and hatch chart for Big Red. It was posted on the Cornell Hawk Red-Tail FB Page today. I don’t think they will mind if I share it with you.

Looks like it won’t be long til we are on pip watch! Can’t wait. These two are the most amazing parents and in the entire world there are only a couple of RTH cams. We are so privileged to get to watch their lives unfold.

And before I close, another miracle. Milda, Raimis, and step-dad Mr Cips, have two! That second egg has hatched. I was told the time was 20:30:34 on the 23 April. Oh, aren’t they adorable! I hope the older sib is kind to the little one.

All of us are tired of the pandemic. I don’t even like to say that word anymore. The birds have brought us such joy. It was nice to begin the day with the Tiny Tot miracle and end it here in Latvia with the second hatch for Milda. She believed in those eggs – enough to not eat for eight days. I am so grateful for Mr Cips who has brought in food and even fed the little eaglets. Milda has a new mate that will support her. Tears.

Thank you for joining me. It is a cool but sunny Saturday on the Canadian prairies. Take care everyone.

Thank you to the Achieva Credit Union, Cornell Bird Labs and the RTH cam, Latvian Fund for Nature, Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife, UC Berkeley Falcon Cam for their streaming cams. That is where I picked up my screen shots.

Oh, tears. Tiny Tot gets the fish from mom and self-feeds like a pro!

How can you even describe the words, ‘over joyed beyond belief’?

Oh, the tears are flowing down my cheeks today. If Diane has not noticed how well Tiny Tot is doing, she has today.

Remember Tiny Tot was the first to self-feed. He kept himself alive eating on scraps found in the nest some days. Well, today he had a good feed on the first two fish. And he had a crop. You can see it in his profile here just after 9am.

Then when a fish landed right at the feet of one of the older sibs (I think it was 2) at 3:51:17, Tiny Tot was brave and tried to steal that fish! Yes, you did read that correctly. The thing about Tiny Tot is that he is a survivor. Tiny Tot is always watching. He knows his environment and he knows what is happening.

In the image below, Tiny is on the far left. In the centre are 2, the mother, and 1. The fish that Jack delivered landed right at the talons of 2. You might not think Tiny knows what is going on but he does.

In a second, Tiny Tot decides he is going to try and steal that fish!

There he goes at 3:52:16.

2 is like, ‘What do you think you are trying to do little buddy?’

Tiny might have gotten a bite or two before 2 decided he was holding on to the fish but it demonstrates how observant, quick, determined, and brave Tiny Tot is. Who said that Tiny Tot could not survive when the older sibs start self-feeding?

At 4:59:01 Jack delivered another piece of fish. Now look where our brave little one is – right there by Diane when that fish is dropped. The two older sibs seem more concerned with one another or the traffic.

Oh, there is a lot of wing flapping going on. Where is Tiny Tot? and where is that piece of fish? OK. Diane has it and she is moving it over in her right talon to the side of the nest where she usually feeds the chicks.

Can you see where Tiny Tot’s beak is? And did Diane put that piece of fish in her right talon on purpose?

At 4:59:22 Tiny Tot steals that piece of fish from mom!

He mantles his prey to the back rim of the nest where Tiny Tot self-feeds like the pro that he is!!!!!!!!

Diane watches her boy self-feed. She knows precisely how well the three of them are doing.

Well done, Tiny Tot! If Diane had gold stars to hand out today you would definitely have about 3 or 4 of them. And despite all the claptrap about your being stunted and won’t survive, it sure looks like you are going really well.

My goodness. I think the last image says it all. Since 12 March, Tiny Tot has had to fight for the food that he gets. I expect Diane will tell Jack how well Tiny Tot did today.

Thank you for being on this ‘Tiny Tot’ journey with me. It reminds me of the cheering squad for WBSE 26 or Daisy the Duck. It sure feels good tonight. If Jack and Diane continue to deliver small chunks of fish throughout the day -instead of Diane feeding – and if those pieces come regularly – well, who knows what might happen!

Thank you to the Achieva Credit Union in St Petersburg Florida for their streaming cam. That is where these screen shots were taken.

UPDATE: The second egg has been laid by Landa at the Urdaibai Osprey Nest in Northern Spain.

Happiness in Bird World on Earth Day

I want to wish each and everyone of you and our planet a Happy Earth Day. On the Canadian Prairies it has turned out to be jubilant. It is 17 degrees C outside which feels like summer – yes, it is going to get cold again quickly but still a break today is most welcome. All the snow in my garden is melted.

Bird World is jubilant! Look carefully at the image below. Can you spot Tiny Tot?

Tiny Tot with his crop. 22 April 2021

The last time we witnessed Tiny Tot with a crop was on 7 April. That was precisely 15 days ago and during that time he has survived by being clever and persistent. Tiny Tot used his clever mind and took advantage of positioning and the fact that 2 had eaten an entire fish late last night. Tiny had part of the first fish delivery that came at 7:18:03 as well as part of the second delivery arriving at 9:50:55.

One of the Achieva Osprey cam chatters, Vol Crush, named 1 and 2 Hoover Harley and Dyson Davidson. What a wonderful morning laugh. Tiny Tot was Phoenix – an appropriate name for him since he does seem to rise from the ashes of the nest and survive in ways that many cannot comprehend.

It is now 25 degrees C in St Petersburg, Florida. Tiny Tot has let his big sister shade him. It is full sun and hotter up on that nest. At 2:20 all of the siblings are looking up. Wonder what they see?

Also take a look at Tiny. He has been getting his contour feathers and now instead of those ‘whiskers’ that he had he is also beginning to get his chest feathers. If his luck and persistence endures, he will be an Osprey to contend with being able to survive in very dire circumstances by not giving up. What a bird.

The fourth egg at the UC Berkeley Falcon Nest has not hatched yet but gosh, look at the cuteness in those little pink beaks. Do they look like marshmallows to you?

Lime Green Black flew in to feed his girl quickly and out again he went. That was at 11:49 am. What a lucky princess! The satellite monitoring of LGK and LGL shows that they have had to go further out to forage to feed their girl.

Soon, we should have the short list for names of our Royal Albatross Princess at Taiaroa Head. Every year the Royal cam chick is given a Maori name. She will be the only hatchling of 2021 to have a name along with her band numbers. I will keep you posted so you can vote.

In Canada, our national bird is the Gray Jay. Not the Blue Jay and not the Toronto Blue Jays but the Gray Jay. Here is an image so you can get this in your mind.

“Gray Jay, Slough Creek” by YellowstoneNPS is marked with CC PDM 1.0

The national bird of the United States is the Bald Eagle. That symbol is on currency, on posters, and is celebrated at all patriotic events. And today, the only trained Bald Eagle to fly in an enclosed space – like at the Super Bowl or the 9/11 Memorial – Challenger is 32 hatch years old. He will get special salmon cakes and other treats to celebrate his extraordinary life. Happy Hatch Day Challenger!

Al Cerere, the founder of the American Eagle Foundation Founder and former President of the AEF, takes Challenger on Fox and Friends on Memorial Day in 2017 to talk about how Challenger. There are many more videos of Challenger flying and his birthday celebration in 2020. You can check them out by doing a search on YouTube.

Louis has been over to visit Iris at the Hellsgate Osprey Nest today. Gosh, I wish for once he would bring her a fish! Just once, Louis. Wouldn’t that be nice? Apparently, he does feed Star at his other nest over at the baseball park. Someone pointed out something important – this nest is in Louis’s territory and no other male would likely challenge Louis. On the other hand, I know that most people want Iris, the oldest breeding Osprey in the world, to have a mate and they would love to watch her raise her osplets again. It has been awhile. But there is also the argument that having raised no less than 30 and possibly 40 or more chicks she deserves a break. If you have watched the mothers on these nests they work hard and lose about 30% of their body weight.

Louis arrives in Iris’s life in 2016. Since then the only egg to hatch has been egg #1 laid on 27 April 2018. That egg hatched on 4 June and the chick fledged on 5 August.

There is some logic that not having to raise a nest full of chicks might be what is helping Iris to survive as long as she has. She always returns from her winter migration in great health. She is an excellent fisher. Nature will once again take its course this summer in Missoula. For me, just seeing Iris – working on the nest, bringing in fish she has caught, is fantastic and reassuring.

And speaking of eggs and hatchlings, there are still only two at The Landings Savannah Osprey nest and I am overjoyed that other egg is just sitting there. If it is pipping, I am unaware. The two are healthy and getting along. It would be such a blessing for this nest to have these two remain so.

In Latvia, everyone is still joyous over the successful hatching of Milda’s second egg. That beautiful little White Tailed Eaglet is doing great. Here it is getting a meal before the heavy rains set in later in the afternoon.

As the heavy rain falls late in the day it sounds like there also could be some hail falling. That little eaglet is snug under Milda! Nothing is going to get it wet. Mr Chips has brought in fish that can feed both mom and baby.

And over in Wales, there are smiles because one of the Dyfi hatchlings of 2018, Dinas has arrived home to Wales. Last year he was seen in Anglesey. Congratulations everyone. What a relief to see a return! Phillip Snow captured Dinas eating a fish. The image was posted on the Loch Arkaig FB this morning. What a great fish!

And, last, a report on another Louis. As anyone watching the nest of Louis and Aila at Loch Arkaig can tell you, it is becoming sad not to see Aila return. There are still ospreys returning to the UK from their winter migration to Africa and Aila has come in late previously but it appears that Louis might be with another female on the nest out of view of the camera. Fish were seen being delivered and two birds on that nest. Louis is an amazing dad and the three osplets that hatched and fledged in 2020 are a testimony to his efforts, day and night, to keep them fed. He even did tandem feedings with Aila which won my love. Oh, if that would happen on the Achieva Osprey nest I would collapse. Birds, like humans, are born into different homes with parents with different skills and means. Whatever happens up in Scotland, I know that we wish Louis well.

Have a fabulous day today everyone! Enjoy the beautiful outdoors and do something for the betterment of our planet – no matter how large your effort, everyone can make a difference.

Thank you to the following where I grabbed my images: the Loch Arkaig FB page and Phillip Snow, the Cornell Bird Lab and Skidiway Audubon Savannah Osprey Nest, the Achieva Credit Union in St Petersburg FL, the UC Falcon Cam, the Latvian Nature Fund and the White Tail Eagle cam at Durbe, Cornell Lab and NZ Doc Royal Albatross, and Cornell Lab and Montana Osprey Project.

Nest Hopping

We are getting some really good looks at the California condor egg in Redwood Queen’s nest tree in Big Sur, California. This is the same tree that Red Wood Queen raised Pasquale and Iniko with her long time mate, King Pin. King Pin is believed to have perished in the Dolan Fire in 2020.

Redwood Queen 190 and Phoenix 477 have been taking turns incubating the egg. We will be looking for a hatch in four days time – on April 24.

Did you know that on Easter Sunday in 1987 the last living California condor was captured and taken into captivity? Today, thirty-four years later condors are being released and living in the wild again. After the fire in 2020, there are 9 missing condor including Redwood Queen’s old mate, King Pin. There are 90 California condors living in Central California and 507 in total. Those numbers show the success of the captive breeding programme that Ventana Wildlife Society and the USFWS undertook three decades ago. Seeing Redwood Queen who was born in captivity lay another egg in her burnout Redwood Tree just puts a smile on your face!

Everything seems to be fine on The Landings Savannah Osprey Nest. The two little ones are growing and had crops this morning. As everyone knows, I am hoping that the third egg is not viable. These two are great and mom and dad can handle them easily.

Two little ones waiting for breakfast. 20 April 2021

The three little Peregrine Falcon eyasses of Annie and Grinnell’s are just adorable. They are growing and getting feisty. Grinnell has been very busy catching the local pigeons and turning them into raptors. Everything is fine on this nest. Watch for the hatching of the fourth egg tomorrow!

Cute. 20 April 2021

Open wide! Peregrin falcons make a ‘clicking’ sound alerting the eyases that it is time to open wide and eat.

Time for pigeon! 20 April 2021

The sun is going down on Loch Arkaig and, as yet, there is no news of Aila returning.

Louis continues to bring in moss for the nest. 20 April 2021

All of the nests in the UK that have eggs on them are doing great. NC0 is incubating at Loch of the Lowes – what a gorgeous place for a nest! Just like that of Annie and Grinnell who are in the penthouse of the Campanile at Berkeley.

NC0 and Laddie have three eggs! 20 April 2021

Over in Wales at the Dyfi Nest, Idris is showing off his amazing fishing skills to Telyn (Blue 3J). Wow. Apparently, Monty, Idris’s predecessor was also good at catching two fish at the same time. It’s great. Idris and Telyn can have dinner together!

20 April 2021. Idris landing with 2 fish!

Tiny Tot is enjoying the view and his nice full stomach from the feeding this morning. Or in my world, I am not going to start to worry about him again for another day or so – Tiny Tot is a miracle!

There he is looking out at the traffic below. His tail is coming in nicely.

Have a terrific day everyone. Take care, stay safe!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Achieva Credit Union in Dunedin, Florida, UC Berkeley Falcon Cam, Cornell Bird and Skidiway Audubon Savannah Osprey Nest, Woodland Trust and People’s Postcode Lottery, Dyfi Nature Reserve, Scottish Wildlife Trust, and Ventana Wildlife Society and Explore.org.