Thursday hoppin’ and skippin’ through Bird World

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.

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.

Emotional Day in Bird World

The staff at the Glaslyn Osprey Nest in Wales are issuing statements on their FB page about the situation at the nest of Mrs G, Aran, and their three little ones. Aran has returned to the nest without any fish. The three little ones are still alive but for how long without food, no one knows. The weather in the area is not improving.

The Raven attack on the Glaslyn Nest can be seen here:

Watchers of Tiny Tot cried and cheered this morning when the third hatch of the Achieva Credit Union Osprey nest in St Petersburg, Florida fledged. It was 9:52:24. Everyone is hoping to catch more glimpses of Tiny as he returns to the nest for fish dinner. Fingers crossed.

Tiny Tot grew up to be a magnificient Osprey. We wish him a life full of fish and no drama! Oh, how I would like to know where you go and what you do, Tiny Tot. You are such an example of a survivor.

From the moment that E24 hatched, he has brought us great joy. That was the 8th of February. The little one was strong and survived an irritation of the eye as well as a bout of Avian Flu. The popular choice for a name was Legacy and it was very fitting.

Tears rolled down everyone’s face when Legacy left the nest and was missing in action for three days. She found her way home on 1 May and stayed with us for more than three weeks. She flew off the nest tree yesterday, 22 May 2021, at 11:31. It feels like this is goodbye. Samson bought in a fish to try and lure him back to the nest but, Legacy did not come for it.

Legacy’s father, Samson, returned to this very nest, the nest where he hatched, to raise his family. Because of the dire circumstances that happened to Romeo and Juliet, Samson really did create a legacy to his dad at this nest. Last year him and Gabby fledged Jules and Romy and this year, Legacy (such a great choice of name). Maybe Legacy will return in four years time and raise his family, if dad is retired!

Legacy will be 15 weeks old on 24 May. She is right in the sweet spot of the average fledge.

This little one brought us great joy – seeing her fight with her parents who were being surrogate siblings. I enjoyed particularly her interactions with Samson who is just the most amazing dad. Fly high Legacy! Take care. Return to us one day.

22 May 2021. Legacy leaves nest tree in Jacksonville, Florida.

Legacy is a week younger than E17 and E18 over at the Southwest Florida Bald Eagle Nest in Fort Myers. Talk about tears. These two were bonking maniacs. Then they got Conjunctivitis. And despite all the pecks, E18 protected E17 when danger came to the nest. They have grown to be best buddies – the twins that they are. They have played in the water in the ponds, caught prey on their own, returned to be fed by Harriet and M15. Here they are today sitting by one another on the branch. They haven’t left permanently. The time is, however, coming when that could be a reality. Buckets of tears will fall not only because that event will mark the end of a very successful season for Harriet and M15 but because it might mean that these two are separated. Each to their own territory. I wish, like Legacy and Tiny Tot, that they had a tracker.

There is an interesting story coming out of the United Kingdom of a brother and sister duo like these two actually setting up a nest together. (We do not know the gender of E17/18). The scientists have indicated that they are not concerned. So we wait but we might never know, sadly, the fate of E17 and E18. Whenever that last day arrives, they are ready to survive and we wish them boy voyage.

There was enough of a break in the weather at the Dyfi Nest of Telyn and Idris that Big Bob got to have two feeds. One of mullet and another of trout. A big crack has been noted in egg 3. Sadly, Bob 2 suffocated about eight hours after it was born. It was at a time when Telyn was desperately trying to keep the chicks dry and warm.

Here is Big Bob enjoying his trout dinner! Let us hope that this dire weather over in Wales settles down so that Little Bob will not have any difficulties. It has to be a worrisome time for all.

The miserable weather has continued over in Rutland where Blue 33 has been very fortunate in his fishing. The water has been choppy and murky. You can see how windy it is by the new punk hair styles of Blue 33 and Maya.

The Two Bobs are fine. Their plumage has changed and they truly look like their ancient relatives.

The same cold rain is still up at the Loch of the Lowes. Laddie and Nessie (NC0) are doing the best they can to both feed and keep the three little ones dry.

The cold rainy weather continues in Missoula, Montana. It was 4 degrees C. Iris returned to her nest with a nice crop at 10:17:42. She had not spent the night there and she has not, so far, gotten on to the nest with the eggs. The lingering cold and wet have insured that the eggs are not viable. So Iris will not have to go through the tragedies of past years. For now, I am simply glad that she visits the nest so that we can see she is alright! That is the main thing, isn’t it? Iris is, after all, the oldest Osprey in the world and we should enjoy every minute that we can with her. She is truly a survivor and when she doesn’t return from her migration, it will be the end of an era. Buckets of tears will flow. But for now, let us be joyful in her presence.

We know that Osprey fish for their food but Iris is starting to look particularly miserable with all the rain and cold weather. This is supposed to be her summer holiday!

For the lovers of Grinnell and Annie’s little falcons, this week is going to fly by fast. We could be on fledge watch in five days! How quickly they have grown. Today, the white dandelions have almost disappeared on the two oldest. You can see that the juvenile plumage is coming in nicely.

It is a damp day on the Canadian prairies. We have had that much needed rain and sun would be welcome. Outside my window Mr Crow is being difficult. The neighbours have been leaving kibble for a stray kitten. Instead of the kitten eating it, Mr Crow has been enjoying the crunchy bits. The dish is empty!

A friend of mine who lives in Maine says that this has been a different year for her watching the birds. This year she is more aware of the challenges that they face in their daily lives than she was last year. It is so true. They have brought much joy to us, now it is time for us to optimistically step forward and figure out ways to turn their world around.

Thank you for joining me today. I want to leave you with an image of a truly great bird mom, Big Red. I cannot even begin to imagine the mourning that will go on when she is no longer with us. She is eighteen this year. Every minute is precious. Here she is checking out the chicks as they sleep. She sees some things she doesn’t like and starts being the great mom she is – she is preening!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams. This is where I get my scaps: Cornell Bird Lab RTH, Achieva Credit Union St. Petersburg, NE Florida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF, SW Florida Eagle Cam and D Pritchett, LRWT, UC Falcon Cam, Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Loch of the Lowes, Dyfi Osprey Project, and the Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife.

Sunday Nest News

It looks like there could be a pip on the nest of Mrs G and Aran at Glaslyn. The first egg was laid on 10 April for the 2021 season. Mrs G is the oldest breeding Osprey in Wales. She hatched, from all that can be ascertained, in either 2000 or 2001 making her ten or eleven years old this year. Aran and Mrs G have been together since 2015.

You can watch Mrs G and Aran raise their chicks here:

The two eaglets on the Duke Farms Nest fludged today. Li’l was up higher on the branch and was followed by Big. They both began flapping and well – one of them knocked the other off the branch and they both went flying off to the field. That happened at 9:17:46. Neither have returned to the nest.

Li’l could not figure out a way to get around Big to go down. Li’l flaps. Big doesn’t move.

At 9:17:46, flapping and falling and both fludge.

The pair have not returned to the nest. It is now after 19:00. Perhaps the parents can lure them to return to the nest with prey.

Iris has been on and off the nest. One time she was followed by Louis. I wish he would bring her a fish if he comes calling. Geez. It is easy to understand, watching Louis land for mating, one reason why the female raptors have to be bigger than the males.

Iris has two eggs in the nest that she has been taking care of on and off again. She will never have another mate because Louis will not allow another male in his territory. So let us all hope that the hormones calm down shortly, the eggs aren’t viable, and Iris can enjoy her summer sunning herself and having some nice fish.——— My personal wish is that Louis would just stay home with Starr!

Big Red and Arthur’s chicks are growing like crazy. It seems even faster this year.

The clown feet are already coming and if you look under the white furry down, they are getting grey and speckled. My goodness.

Normally we would see a nest full of chipmunks but I wonder if Arthur cut that population down last year. This year the nest seems to be full of Starlings.

Legacy is still with us. The sun is setting and Samson brought her a fish in the morning. She is so gorgeous. Legacy, you can stay on the nest as long as you like. Samson likes bringing you fish!

Legacy ate that entire big fish!

And it is always a good day when Tiny Tot is still on the nest. Did anyone ever believe that little osplet, running around the rim of the nest begging for some fish, would grow and turn into this beautiful Osprey? Well, she has thrived – most of remember the day this nest turned around. Diane brought in a catfish and that day she fed Tiny to the brim and she never stopped feeding Tiny again! Something clicked that the little one was going to be a survivor. Below in the image is the evidence. Beautiful Osprey. Such a happy ending! Diane and Jack will fledge three this year, it would appear. Always brings tears to my eyes – tears of joy!

Sibling #1 returned the day after she fledged and has not been seen since. Sibling #2 stayed around the nest getting fed and getting its flying better. #2 was last seen at the nest around 10am on 15 May. Someone asked if the Florida Ospreys migrate. That is a great question – no, they do not. They stay in Florida year round.

They are there. You can barely tell them from the dry Spanish moss on the nest. The two osplets on The Landings Osprey Nest on Skidaway Island, otherwise known as the Savannah Ospreys, are doing fine. Both are growing and each has some distinct dark rusty brown markings. Beautiful babies this year. Let us hope they both stay safe!

Sadly, one of the four Winchester Cathedral peregrine falcon chicks has died. Let us hope that it is a one off and not rodenticide poisoning that could impact the entire clutch.

Meanwhile, Annie and Grinnell’s three boys are getting stronger. Their feathers are coming in quickly and they are now venturing beyond the scrape box.

Thank you for joining me. We might have some new ospreys tomorrow. Will keep you posted! Take care and stay safe.

Thank you to the following streaming cams where I grab my screen shots: Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife, UC Falcon Cam, Cornell Bird Lab, Montana Osprey Project, Duke Farms, NE Florida Bald Eagle Cam, Cornell Bird Lab and Skidaway Audubon, Achieva Osprey, and the NE Florida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF.

Late night Thursday edition of ‘As the Nest Turns’

The White-tail Eagle nest in the Matsula National Park in Estonia – one of the oldest known breeding territories in the country, has been fledging eaglets since the nineteenth century, if not before. Archives go back to 1870 with modern records from 1996-2020 indicating that no less than 29 eaglets fledged from the nest that Eve and Eerik currently call their own. So what has happened this year?

For two days now, Eve and Eerik have been mourning the loss of their two babies, EE1 and EE2. Long before the little ones stopped breathing, the couple knew. A parent was always there with them witnessing their last breath. It is a scene that many of us have observed at other nests this year. I remember too clearly the Captiva Bald Eagle Nest in Florida – on Santibel Island – when Hope and Peace both died of secondary rodenticide poisoning. Joe, the father was devastated, and I have often wondered if it wasn’t the death of his two eaglets that made him vulnerable and, eventually, evicted from the nest by Martin. Several years ago, stories of the injuries to Juliet at the NE Florida Bald Eagle nest and then the death of his eaglet, made Romeo abandon the Bald Eagle Nest in Jacksonville where his son, Samson, has now fledged his third-eaglet, Legacy (the two previous were Romy and Jules last year). Birds have memories and emotions, they mourn the dead, and understand. Laura Culley would challenge anyone who begged to differ, “And why wouldn’t they?” she was ask.

Eve and Eerik completely covered the babies, each spending time at the nest. Imagine that you have two seemingly healthy children and within a day they are both dead and you don’t know what happened. I use the term ‘seemingly healthy’, as the two eaglets were somewhat lethargic for several days before they died. It was extremely hot – one of those blasts of extreme heat that my friend ‘T’ from Strasbourg warned me about. I thought it was the heat that caused them to be less hungry and alert.

The experts in Estonia have mentioned that a sizeable number of large birds have been found dead along the coastline. Below is a Google Map showing that coast line and the area of Matsula.

Google Map showing the area of Matsalu and its proximity to the coast line of Estonia.

The eagles eat carrion (dead animals). Is it possible that a disease was transmitted to the nest? Was it Avian Flu? or was the cause rodenticide? It will be good to have the speculation stopped and have factual evidence – then the wildlife authorities can begin to figure out how to make sure this doesn’t happen again (if they can). The bodies of the babies will be removed on the 14th of May for an autopsy if the eagles allow them to take them. Meanwhile, Eerik is at the nest looking down at his baby, EE1, now covered by straw.

Wildlife employees in Estonia have just released this statement: “If we manage to collect the dead chicks (hope the parents let us do that), the tests will be done in Estonian University of Life Sciences or sent abroad if needed. We’ve talked with Dr. Madis Leivits about it. We’ll post the findings on the forum, if we get new information. The camera will stay online and I really hope that next year we can follow this nest again.” Thank you ‘T’ for sending this to me!

It is hard to transition from what is happening in Estonia to the rest of Bird World. I hope that the issues at this beautiful nest in Estonia are resolved and that Eve and Eerik return to raise another family next year.

When the anxiety and tensions on one nest get too high and I need a break, I head to a nest that appears stable – at that moment. As we all know, everything can change in an instant. One of those ‘safe’ nests is the Manton Bay Osprey nest at Rutland, home of Maya and Blue 33 (11). Just look at those Two Bobs! Blue 33 (11) has been busy bringing in fish today. It was a whopper at 11:47. Maya is busy filling the two up before the rains come. Look at how strong their necks are! Oh, I love this Osprey nest and those baby blues of the little ones. They will turn an amber or yellow-orange shortly and when they are adults, their eyes will be a piercing bright yellow like their dad and mum. Oh, those little dinosaurs are adorable.

Birds are often better at telling what the weather will be than our local forecaster. Maya fed the babies as much as they could hold before the skies opened in the late afternoon. Look at how she is hunkered down so the Bobs are warm and dry. Their down is of no protection to them.

By 18:22 it is dry enough that Maya can safely stop her brooding and feed those spunky osplets! There is not any nonsense. Maya and Blue 33 (11) are amazing parents who keep those kiddos full. The Bobs know that there is plenty of fish – no food insecurities here. How refreshing. I could watch these two little ones all day. You can see how they stand erect for Maya and how their crops are just beginning to get full.

There is no shortage of pigeons for the three male eyases of Annie and Grinnell. The parents had a banquet for them after the banding yesterday. If you look carefully you can see the red band on the right leg of the chick at bottom left. Each eyas has two bands – an aluminum one and a coloured one.

One of the questions that someone asked yesterday during the Q & A was about the ‘ps’ all over the walls. The answer was this: if something happened to Annie and Grinnell a pair of falcons checking out this box would know that the territory was a good one, full of prey, because of all the ps. Isn’t that interesting? One of the other questions was about parasites. Peregrine falcons evolved to lay their eggs and raise their eyases in a scrape box. This helps avoid mites and parasites that happen on stick nests.

Big Red and Arthur’s little ones are also full of spunk and vinegar! K3 got its head caught under the wing of one of the sibs and it stood up like a big prize fighter giving that sib the what for. Look at that crop! That little one is really telling that other one. It is not the first time this little one has been ready to take one of the older ones on. This nest is going to get really interesting.

Samson brought Legacy a nice fish. Legacy started squealing and mantling before he was even in sight – that was 4:50:28 if you are watching the streaming cam. There she is mantling and Samson is just arriving.

I love Samson’s skinny legs! It looks like he is wearing tights. He is getting out of there quick – saving those talons for sure!

Legacy will not stop mantling the fish til Samson is not a threat.

Legacy is really learning how to keep her fish for herself. Great lessons by Samson and Gabby.

Legacy made quick work of that fish!

Oh, Legacy, you are gorgeous. We are so lucky you returned to the nest and have stayed around longer so we can enjoy seeing you learn and grow more confident.

I have done a quick run through of the other nests and everything seems to be going smoothly. There will be hatch watch for some of the Osprey nests in the UK this weekend. Iris has two eggs in the nest but she appears to not be taking their presence seriously. She left at 13:55 and at 20:25 she had not returned. I am glad to see that Iris is taking care of herself. No doubt she is enjoying the nice day and has caught herself several good fish.

Tiny Tot, who is no longer tiny, has been eating a lot of fish today. #2 sibling got the first fish of the morning. Tiny Tot showed the remarkable patience she has gained. She waited knowing full well that Diane would let #2 work on the fish for so long and then she would take it and they would enjoy the rest of it together. That has repeated itself throughout the day.

And can you see them with all the things in the nest? The two at the Dahlgren Osprey Nest are doing well. The first hatch has really taken off in terms of size. I bet everyone is sitting around saying that ‘it’ is going to be a ‘big girl’. Time will tell. It is too late for the third egg to hatch and it will be absorbed into the nest. No worries. Harriet keeps the two chicks warm and well fed. Jack is an excellent provider. Two nice healthy chicks is great!

Tomorrow I want to check on some of the Red-tail hawk nests in New York City – yes, right in the heart of the city. In fact, it was one of these nests that keened my interest on urban hawks – the one on the ledge of New York City University. There should also be some news on the retrieval attempt of EE1 and EE2 for their post-mortems. Right now, Eerik is on the left hand branch of the nest tree in Estonia. He has moved the bodies of the babies and him and Eve have eaten off the prey in the nest. They need to consume it so that intruders do not come. So fingers crossed!

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I get my screen shots: The Eagle Club of Estonia, the Dahlgren Osprey Cam, Cornell Bird Lab, UC Falcon Cam, NE Florida Bald Eagle Cam, LRWT Rutland Osprey Project, Achieva Credit Union, and the Montana Osprey Project.

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.

Bird Mothers of the Year

Every year we stop and think about the women who gave us life and mentored us to become independent adults. I want to stop for a moment and consider a few of the bird mothers. Last year I was able to single out one bird that seemed to give it her all and that was Big Red, the Red tailed-hawk whose nest is on the Cornell Campus. This year I have a few more to add. I am certain that you have your own list as well.

In studying the social behaviour of birds, one of the things that has astonished me is how complicated the lives of our feathered friends are and how the behaviour of humans has impacted their lives.

The birds are not listed in any particular order – I could not, for the life of me, rank them. They have struggled against the greatest odds sometime. The first bird mentioned does not have a happy ending and this is a warning about that. If you would prefer to skip this mom, then please scroll down to Big Red.

The first female on my list is Milda. Milda is a White-tailed Eagle. She worked with her long time mate, Raimis, and rebuilt their nest near Durbe, Latvia. She laid her eggs on March 12, 15, and 21. The last time that Raimis was seen was the 27th of March. Milda incubated her eggs and stayed on her nest, despite several intruders, for eight days without eating. Then on two occasions, she had to leave the nest to try and find food and was off her eggs for periods nearing five hours at a time. It is not clear how successful she was in hunting. A male WTE appeared and tried to help incubate. By some miracle two of the three eggs hatched on the 21 and 24th of April. The people of Latvia and those who adore Milda were overcome with emotion. But that joy was short lived. It was pretty clear that Milda was almost starving to death. She had completely depleted her bodily resources. The male brought a crow to the nest and the eaglets were fed and then he took it away. It was very cold and Milda had to eat. She had to leave the nest to find food. She was desperate. If she did not survive neither would her eaglets. It is like the instructions when you fly on a plane: put your own oxygen mask on first before you help your children. Did Milda know that her eaglets would freeze? was this a form of euthanasia? did Milda think the male would incubate the eaglets while she found food? In all of this, there was also an intruder. Milda’s eaglets slowly froze to death. Later that day she consumed them.

Cannibalism in eagles is a new area of study with the growing number of streaming cameras. In 2002, a group of wildlife biologists in Virginia were stunned when they observed a male eagle killing his eaglets alive and eating them. More reports of similar behaviour came in leading researchers to believe that the behaviour may be more common that believed particularly in times of food shortage.

Milda was a very devoted and dedicated single mother. The circumstances were dire. She could not help her babies if she could not feed herself and she was starving. We have watched birds mourn their dead. It is beyond my comprehension to understand how difficult all of this was for Milda. The lack of a partner and the inability of a female parent to provide enough food for their eaglet also happened at another nest in Latvia. That was the nest of Spilve whose beautiful eaglet, Klints, perished from starvation. Spilve mourned the death of her Klints. This year, she refused to use the nest that Klints’s body has become a part of. Instead, her and her new mate went to another.

I am really aware of the dedication that the Latvians have for their wildlife. What has caused a drop in prey? has it always been this difficult? and would it be possible to stock artificial ponds for these large raptors? Those are just three of my questions.

Milda feeding her two little ones their last meal. 25 April 2021

My second bird mother of the year will always be first in my heart- Big Red whose territory is on the Cornell Campus.

Big Red is even wetter. 8 May 2021

Big Red hatched near Brooktondale, New York in 2003. She was banded on 20 October 2003 in Brooktondale. She is eighteen years old. The exact history of her mates and the number of eyasses she has raised to fledge will never be known. She was known to have a nest in 2010 on the Cornell Campus and two years later cameras were installed. Her mate at the time was Ezra. Ezra was killed in 2017. It is the only year that she did not have a clutch. She bonded with her current mate, Arthur, that same year. It is entirely possible that Big Red has fledged no less than 35 eyasses. This year she has another clutch of three. Big Red is a devoted mother. By the fall she is already selecting which light tower to use as a nest and is working with Arthur then and to a greater degree in February to ready the nest for the upcoming breeding season. She has been encrusted in snow more times than I want to remember and soaked to the bones. She has been blown off the nest! Still she works and keeps those kiddos of hers full to the brim. As someone recently said, ‘No one leaves Big Red’s table hungry.’ And when her eyasses fledge she will spend days with them in family hunting expeditions so that they are as prepared as she can make them for the outside world.

Today, she was soaked to the bone and cold – even the babies are a wee bit ‘wet’. Those heavy raindrops wanted nothing more than to turn into icy slush. She fed her three little ones as quickly as she could so they would not get wet and catch a chill. Just look at the love in those eyes! Being a mom is what it is all about for Big Red.

Unlike Milda, Big Red has a devoted mate, Arthur, who is busy filling the pantry providing food for Big Red and the Ks as well as security for the territory. Arthur also gives Big Red much needed relief breaks despite the fact that she prefers to look after the little ones almost 100% of the time! Her territory is also prey plentiful.

Big Red will always be at the top of my list. She is just simply amazing.

A soaked Big Red. 7 May 2021

My third female is Diane at the Achieva Osprey Nest in St Petersburg, Florida. I am including Diane in my list for one single reason. This year her three eggs hatched and she had three osplets to raise. At the time the three were born (5th and 7th of March), there was plenty of prey on the nest. However, a week later the fish deliveries became irregular causing food insecurity on the nest. It was unclear whether or not the third hatch would survive. There would be days of plenty and then hardly any fish. If the babies didn’t eat neither did Diane. Many suspected that Jack, her mate, might have another nest. Diane began to go fishing supplementing the fish that were brought onto the nest and that is why I am including her. When she was able she would leave the nest and bring in huge catfish to feed her babies and herself. She was a selfless mom. The two older siblings and in particular, the second hatch, demanded more and more food. For days in a row the third hatch had no food. Even Diane acted on several occasions like the little one would not live. Then something happened. The food became more plentiful and she paid particular attention so that the third hatch was full. I call him Tiny Tot. This year Diane will fledge three – . Tiny Tot is the only one left to fledge and his feather growth is behind. And that is OK. Tiny Tot is simply a delight.

In the image below Tiny Tot sits in the middle of the nest with its full crop and its ever growing wings. At one time no one believed #3 would survive and most thought it would be stunted but Tiny is filling out all over. Diane makes sure that sibling #2 standing on the rim of the nest at the back does not eat all of the fish that comes on the nest. I have to give her like 5 gold stars for stepping in and making sure that the food is shared between these two. No one is left out.

Tiny is really growing. Maybe he is a she? 7 May 2021

Diane is on the nest with Tiny. They are both waiting for an incoming fish.

Diane on the left and Tiny Tot on the right. Not so Tiny anymore!

Tiny Tot can self-feed. He was the first of the three to do so. To survive he found fish bones with a little flesh on them and ate it. Diane does love to feed him, tho.

Diane loves to feed Tiny Tot even tho he can do it himself. 7 May 2021

As the sun goes down, Diane and her two little ones are full. Tiny is actually full to the brim. You can see that glimmer of the sun on his big crop.

The sun sets on the St Petersburg Osprey Nest and all are full. 7 May 2021

Another bird mom that has touched my heart in a way that I cannot quite put my finger on is Eve, the mate of Eerik, whose nest is in the Matsalu National Park in Estonia. It is so cold in Estonia that the geese had to stop their northern migration. Eve is a huge White-tailed Eagle – she almost looks ‘wooly’ because her plumage is so thick to keep her warm. She is the most gentle of mothers with her two little eaglets.

Eve does not have the prey problem that Milda had in Latvia. There are plenty of fish and other birds that Eerik brings to the nest. Eve carefully conceals them and keeps them fresh in the straw around the rim of the nest-like an old fashioned ‘ice box’. What they have had to contend with are intruders and lingering cold weather to the extreme. It is especially important because the eaglets cannot thermoregulate their temperature. They depend on Eve and Eerik for everything. Many mornings Eve has woken up to be completely covered in a cold frost. I am really looking forward to these two growing up. Look at the little one put its wing around its big sib. This is such a peaceful nest. Eve keeps everything under control.

Eve feeding her two growing eaglets. 7 May 2021

There are so many bird mothers whose lives need celebrating if for nothing else than they successfully raised their clutches. It is not easy. Humans have impacted their lives in so many ways it would take an entire blog to list them but climate change and its impact on prey, loss of habitat, plastic in the oceans, toxins, etc come to the top. I cannot even begin to create a list of all of those. If I continued to include images and write ups for the mothers, the blog could easily include Harriet at the Bald Eagle Nest in SW Florida in Fort Myers. She is just an amazing mother to E17 and E18. Those kiddos are well equipped to take on the world. Then there is Anna, the first time Bald Eagle mother, who had to learn along with her eaglet how to feed her baby properly. Kisatchie has thrived and is now branching on his nest tree in the Kisatchie National Forest. On the Mississippi River, the nest of Starr and the Valors was destroyed last year by the winds. Starr had to work with Valor I and II to build a new nest for the 2021 season. They built an amazing nest and now have three growing eaglets. Or what about the female at Duke Farms who spent the entire incubation period encased in snow? Her two eaglets are now branching. Diamond, the Peregrine Falcon, in Orange, Australia still has her seven month old fledgling living in her scrape box. Her patience is amazing and her and Xavier have raised a formidable falcon! What about the Osprey females who lay eggs and raise their little ones in nests so full of toys and blankets they often cannot even find the chicks. This year, Harriet at the Dahlgren Nest, lost one of her eggs in Jack’s deliveries! They probably deserve a medal every day for their good humour. Then there are the ones, driven by their instincts and ‘Mother Nature’ that want to be mothers so badly such as Jackie at Big Bear or Iris at Hellsgate? If certificates were given out, they would all receive them – every single one of them!

Here is Iris bringing in a whopper of a breakfish for herself. Iris is the oldest living osprey in the world – the grand dame of all Ospreys. She has fledged no less than 35-40 osplets – no one really knows for sure, that is just an estimate. Since the death of her trusted mate, Stanley, Iris has returned to her nest every year during breeding season. Her current mate, Louis, has another nest and another mate and Iris is now, by default, a single mother. Her natural instincts bring her back from her 4,000 mile migration to her nest in Missoula, breeding with Louis, and because she is both provider, incubator, and security guard – like Milda and Spilve – her clutches have not been successful. Her last fledge was a single osplet in 2018. Still she is there doing her best!

And Happy Mother’s Day to Maya on the Rutland Mantou Nest whose first osprey egg of the season hatched at 15:23 today, 8 May. You can just see the little one getting out of its shell.

Thank you for joining me today to appreciate the difficult circumstances each of our bird mothers face. There is a story for each of them! They are all much loved.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I get my screen shots: LWRT Osprey Project, Cornell Bird Lab and Montana Osprey, The Eagle Club of Estonia, Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, Latvian Fund for Wildlife, and the Achieva Credit Union.

Babies, Branching, and Bittersweet

It is all too quick. One minute they are little chicks bonking and bopping like the three Ks of Big Red and Arthur and then they are branching and fledging. It is all bittersweet.

Arthur has already begun to line prey up around the egg cup at the Fernow Light Tower nest in Ithaca, New York. Look at the crop on K1. I never get tired of watching these little eyasses grow. Arthur and Big Red are such devoted parents.

6 March 2021

Adorable. Simply adorable.

Oh, look at those little cutie pies. The Ks. 6 May 2021

Annie and Grinnell’s eyasses are a little older than the Ks. Their pin feathers are really growing in and they now spend their time preening, sleeping, or eating!

Look, you can see their little tail feathers starting to grow! People say the feather growth makes the eyasses itchy. How would a human know what it feels like to grow feathers? Birds are the only living thing on the planet that has them.

They are starting to get to the clown foot stage, too. Oh, they love that pigeon Grinnell is feeding them.

It is raining in Estonia and Eve is very careful not to get the little ones wet. Until they have their contour feathers they are not protected. Thermal down will help them against the cold but for now, they have to rely on mom to keep them both warm and dry.

I included the image below for two reasons. The first is the distinctive white tail feathers of the White-tailed eagles. Aren’t they gorgeous? And the second reason is to have a look at the feathers. Each of Eve’s feathers has a central shaft with tiny barbules that lock together like Velcro. They lay flat and make the bird waterproof. Feathers grow out of skin follicles.

White-tail eagles are the largest apex raptors in Europe. They also have the largest average wing span of any eagle in the world. Their wings span averages 2.4 metres or 8 feet. Did you know that they are on the coat of arms of Germany? They are Germany’s national bird just like the Bald Eagle is the national bird of the United States.

Today, both Kisatchie at the Kistachie National Forest Bald Eagle nest and one of the pair of the Bald Eaglets at Duke Farms branched. Kisatchie had no one to cheer him on but the eaglet that branched below got a high five from its sibling for a job well done. It won’t be long til the sib is jumping up on that branch, too!

We are still on hatch watch with Maya and Blue 33 (11) at Rutland Mantou Bay. Tomorrow the first egg laid will be 38 days old (May 7).

And, of course, the bittersweet. In a month or so, E17 and E18 along with Legacy will leave us to make their own way out into the world. And sooner than I want, Tiny ‘Biggie’ Tot will fledge.

Legacy is waiting for Samson to bring her the evening meal. It is nearly 7:30 and he normally visits the nest around 5:30 with a food drop.

Legacy is not starving. Remember, Gabby and Samson are trying to teach her about what life will be like outside of the nest. Food is not always plentiful and eagles do not eat every day in the wild. Legacy had a squirrel yesterday and a big hunk of fish the day before. It is nearly 8:30 p, in the image below and it seems Legacy might have to wait and hope for breakfast.

Meanwhile, Tiny ‘Biggie’ Tot is having some nice fish. Diane seems to really enjoy feeding Tiny. Often they are on the nest together as #2 sibling flies around and lands on the perch pole. There has been no sighting of #1 sibling. She fledged, returned to the nest once and is MIA. Normally, the raptors depend on their parents for food from 4-6 weeks after fledged (an average overall – some stay longer). They eat at the nest and strengthen their flying muscles. Sometimes the parents feed them ‘off nest’. It is not clear what is happening with #1 sibling and because she is not banded, we will never know.

I am clearly going to miss Legacy and Tiny Tot when the fledge. Unless there is some very distinctive marker – like the dots in Iris’s left eye or the tear in the wing of WBSE 24, unringed birds are simply not that recognizable, one from the other.

And the last news of the day, Iris, the oldest living Osprey in the world laid her first egg of the 2021 season at her Hellgate Nest in Missoula, Montana today at 18:04:31. I would like to hope that if nature intends it, Iris would get to be a mother again. Her last successful hatch with Louis was in 2018. As you know, I wish this day had not come but it has and now we wait to see how the season will twist and turn.

There is a new director for the Cornell Bird Laboratory, Dr Ian Owens. In an interview that came out in the latest edition of Living Bird, Dr Owens remembers the bird that changed his life. He was fifteen and the bird was an Eurasian Marsh-Harrier. Dr Owens will take charge in July.

Like Dr Owens, there are many of you reading this that will recall the first time that a bird influenced your life. Mine was over four and a half years ago when I met Sharpie’s female mate. I haven’t seen her for awhile but Sharpie stopped by today. I rejoice in seeing him – whether it is for a few minutes or an hour. They certainly changed my life and I will be forever grateful. It is just like the joy that all of the birds give us each day.

So take care everyone and remember – March 8 is Bird Count Day. I will remind you tomorrow with the link so you can submit your count. It helps everyone understand the perils of migration. Thank you for joining me!

Thank you to the following streaming cams where I get my screen shots: NE Florida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF, Achieva Credit Union, The Eagle Club of Estonia, UC Falcon Cam, Duke Farms, Cornell Bird Lab RTH, Cornell Bird Lab and the Montana Osprey Project, and LRWT Rutland.

K3 has hatched and other news in Bird World

All of the Ks at the Red-tail Hawk nest on the Fernow Light Tower on the campus of Cornell University have hatched. Big Red and Arthur welcomed K3 sometime in the wee hours of the morning. K3 has its big sibs for bookends today. Arthur is prepared. There is lots of prey of all kinds around the nest. I promise you those furry creatures will grow in dimension to line the nest bowl and fill the pantry at the same time!

K1 is wanting to make sure that the other two siblings know it is the oldest. Big Red has her own way of dealing with this. If the eyasses don’t line up nice and eat quietly, she will sit on them! Normally she feeds the biggest and loudest first but in a week you will begin to see K3 figure out how to get up to the front of the line. So nice to see some sun coming out in Ithaca, NY.

Kistachie, the sole occupant of the Bald Eagle nest in the Kistachie National Forest in Central Louisiana branched this morning. The official time was 6:08:12. Anna and Louis are his parents and he was rewarded with a nice fish from Kincaid Lake.

Boy those talons sure can grip! He is going straight up! Wow
Kisatchie can really climb that straight branch! 6 May 2021
Kisatachie has a nice fish breakfast
Kincaid Lake where Louis fishes

Legacy really enjoyed the squirrel that Samson brought in around 5:30 last evening, 5 May.

Legacy is staying really close to the nest tree but it doesn’t mean she is out of danger. At 6:44:29 this morning Legacy was knocked off her branch by a hawk! Yes, she recovered and it is one of the issues of being at the top of the food chain. Crows, Blue Jays, Hawks – all want the big birds out and away. Go!

Thank goodness Legacy was alright. She got back up on her look out branch. Let’s see if Samson brings her dinner around 5:30 again. I think that they are training her to come to the nest tree for food and also because she has no sibling, Gabby is being a surrogate sibling – as is Samson – trying to train Legacy to survive in that big world out there.

Legacy is simply stunning. She is such a beautiful juvenile Bald Eagle.

The news from the UK Osprey nests is all about the weather. The rain is still pitching it down in Wales and Telyn, Mrs G, and all the other females are simply soaked to the bone. At the Loch Garten nest there is snow!

This is the scene just the day before. The male is AX6. The female is unringed. Oh, these poor birds. What a freak snow storm they are having today!

It is a little dreary in Estonia for the White-tail Eagles, Eve and Eerik and their two little ones. Still, look closely. Eerik has the nest full of fish for these two who are moving into a fast growth phase. Oh, they are doing so well!

Tiny ‘Biggie’ Tot is soooooo beautiful. This afternoon he has busied himself watching the traffic below the nest tower.

Yesterday afternoon, Tiny took the opportunity of an empty nest to really flap his wings and get those wing muscles strong. Look at that tail. Those feathers are really coming in nicely. So happy for this little one to get to live and be a fish eagle!

Tiny has not been hungry for a couple of weeks now and the energy from that food is really showing in its feather growth and the body fattening up. I no longer log every bite that Tiny Tot takes but suffice it to say that he had at least two fish yesterday in total. Not bad! Diane brought in a catfish late – in fact she brought in two fish in the evening. Both Tiny and #2 were full and Diane also go to enjoy some fish.

Thank you for being with me today. That is a quick check in with some of our favourites in Bird World. Stay safe!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams. I get my screen shots from those. They are: Achieva Credit Union, NE Florida Bald Eagle nest and the AEF, KNF, Friends of Loch Garten, Scottish Wildlife Trust, The Eagle Club of Estonia, and the Cornell Bird Lab RTH.