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.

Wednesday Nest Runs

Congratulations to Richmond and Rosie. Their second hatch for 2021 arrived on the nest on top of the Whirley Crane at the Richmond Shipyards in San Francisco on 3 May.

In the image below, Rosie and Richmond’s first hatch of 2021 is right beside the egg that is pipping. You can see the end of the beak and the egg tooth breaking up that shell.

Rosie is really excited to show Richmond the second hatch!

Here we are dad! Can we have some fish, please?

Legacy stayed around her natal nest today. As I sat and watched her, I was reminded of an incident with one of our cats, Melvin. At the time, cats were allowed outside and Melvin loved to roll around in the grass and dirt in the garden. He was content not to leave the yard and never wandered away. One day he didn’t come when we called him. We searched high and lo at all hours of the day and night. Then about four days later, in the middle of the night, we heard him yowling at the door. Melvin ran into the house and went under the bed. For the next 15 years of his life he rarely left that one room. We will never know what happened to him while he was away, but it scared the wits out of him. There were marks on his paws where the fur was gone and holes. We wondered if he had gotten caught in a trap or barbed wire.

Looking at Legacy I have a feeling that she was lost. Of course, I could be all washed up! This evening Samson brought in a fish for Legacy at 4:52:41. It was 32 degrees in Jacksonville and it was windy.

Legacy started mantling when she saw her father coming in with that fish. She was also squealing very loud.

Legacy held on tight to the fish. Samson had eaten the head so it was easy for Legacy to self-feed. She did it like a pro!

Legacy ate every last bite of that fish. When she got to the tail she wasn’t quite certain what to do with it. She tried to pull it off like skin. If the parents were watching they would have been very proud. Good work Legacy!

Tiny ‘Biggie’ Tot on the Achieva Credit Union Osprey Nest in St Petersburg, Florida is the most beautiful bird. Tiny is a survivor. As the sun is setting Tiny had not had any of the last fish. He spent some of the time when he was alone on the nest chewing what fish was left on that bone in the middle of the nest.

At 7:59:46, there was a fish delivery and Tiny mantled it. ‘Mine!’

Tiny had not moved. He was still working hard on that fish as the sun set even more. Good night, Tiny!

Diane, #2 and Tiny ‘Biggie’ Tot are ready and waiting for breakfast on 5 May. If you are wondering, #1 sibling has not returned to the nest. It is unclear if she is being fed elsewhere or what her status is.

You might recall my concern over The Landings Skidaway Island Osprey nest. The aggression from the oldest sibling was amping up as the food deliveries were irregular. That aggression continues. However, this morning the youngest got a nice big feed and it was a delight to see. They are still in their reptilian phase.

The oldest is getting fed and the youngest is cowering (on the left) afraid to go over to mom.

But like Tiny Tot, the youngest is waiting and watching for an opportunity. It moves around the long way once the biggest is full. If allowed, these little ones that are bonked/abused become quite clever. We have seen what an amazing bird Tiny Tot is. It is interesting, speaking of Tiny Tot, that the Achieva Osprey nest became peaceful the instant the oldest sibling fledged despite the fact that the eldest did not directly attach Tiny Tot after the third week in March. It became the duty of #2. Sorry – the behaviour of the birds is very interesting. I bet you never thought their lives could be so complicated?

There is number 2 – the darkest plumaged of the osplets – getting a nice big feed from mom. How wonderful!

Oh, goodness. Over at Big Red and Arthur’s Red Tail Hawk nest, K3 is coming!

It is a very soggy morning at the Fernow Light tower nest and here are K1 and K2 waiting for their little sib! It won’t be long and the entire K clan will be with us! There will be bonking bobble heads for a couple of days til their eyes focus and they realize that it is mom’s beak they need to connect with not their siblings!

I have checked on many more nests this morning but this blog would go on for a kilometre. Suffice it to say that Kistachie at the KNF Bald Eagle nest in Louisiana is doing a pretty good job self-feeding. He is not branching yet and Anna helps when he has trouble eating. Blue 152, a female, has landed again on the Loch Arkaig nest. Maybe a new male will appear! This morning Li’l and Big at the Duke Farms Nest were doing great. Mom was feeding both of them and that silly squirrel continues to bug the Pittsburg Hays trio. The last notice for today is 8 May is Bird Count Day. This is the day that people around the world stop and count the birds that they see. It is a major migration study and is how we know if populations are declining, growing, or if there are environmental issues impacting them. You, too, can take part. In fact, I urge you too. I will give you that information tonight.

Take care and thanks for joining me today. K3 is coming!!!!!!!!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams: Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, Cornell BirdLab and Skidaway Audubon, Bay Ospreys and Golden Gate Audubon, NE Florida Eagle Cam and AEF, and Achieva Credit Union. I get my screen shots from these cameras.

Oh, baby…it’s Tuesday in Bird World

Little K2 made its appearance in the world sometime before 6am but no one is precisely sure when. It was raining in Ithaca and there was no way that Big Red was going to let those two babies of hers get wet!

Pause for a second and look at the crop on K1 in the image below. Remember. Big Red will not let one of her babies go hungry. I am so glad she has Arthur. He is five years old and a dynamo when it comes to hunting. She made a wise choice in that young man when Ezra was killed. Arthur is an energetic and passionate provider in a land of plenty (so far).

If you want to watch Big Red and Arthur raise the Ks and if you also want to join the regular chat once it is started, here is the place to go. There are two cameras. – And lucky for us, we have cameras on Big Red. Hers is one of only two Red Tail Hawk streaming cams in the world that I know. It is an extremely active nest where the eyasses change quickly.

Samson brought Legacy a huge piece of fish yesterday. It was so big that both he and Gabby got to eat some. This morning Legacy is on the nest hoping for another prey drop while Gabby surveys the windy skies. It is 31 degrees C in Jacksonville and the water could be choppy.

How much do the stormy hot days play into the ability of the Bald Eagles to catch fish? is it worse on the weekend with boats and more people in the water? Were all members of the family hungry? Some of these questions can be answered but, not all of them. We will never know if Legacy was lost from her nest for three days but we might imagine she could have been. Were the parents feeding her off the nest? We don’t know. Was she getting her own food? We don’t know. What we do know is that she needs much more time on the nest to learn to self-feed and she needs to imprint her environment so she can find her way easily to the nest if she does a fly about or gets chased by little birds. The crows have been about the nest. Legacy is only 12 weeks old and has much to learn to survive in the wild!

I do not even know what to say. Everyone knows that I get antsy if an Osprey nest has three eggs on it but can you imagine trying to feed five? Well, the bonded pair at the Osprey nest in East Hampton, New York has FIVE eggs on it as of this morning!

If you want to watch the activity on this nest and the little tub boats that go up and down the water way, here you go:

Tiny ‘Biggie’ Tot the Raptor is doing amazing. The peace on the nest now that #1 sibling has fledged is palpable. #2 loves to fly around the nest and Tiny is happy to watch. This morning everyone ate and got bombarded by the local Blue Jay.

Tiny is doing so well. For me, this is nothing short of a miracle. Everyone believed he would not survive. But thrive is what this wonderful fish eagle is doing. It is simply joyful. He is laying flat on the nest watching the Blue Jay pester sibling #2.

Little birds can be just annoying to the bigger raptors but they can also be very dangerous. Often they cause the eagles and Ospreys to fludge – leave the nest early without intent. They may chase them away from the nest and the territory of their parents before the juveniles are able to imprint how to get back to their nest. Everyone is wondering what happened to #1 after she fledged and that could be your answer. The Blue Jays have been pests now for a couple of weeks. They might have a nest nearby. Normally the natal nest will be the centre of the ospreys life after fledge for at least a month or six weeks. The father will continue to bring food to the nest as the young ones increase their flying and landing skills. It is also possible that some of the fledglings are fed ‘off’ nest.

If you are interested in a well written, easy to understand book on Ospreys, I highly recommend Ospreys: The Revival of a Global Raptor by Alan F. Poole. Poole is an expert on Ospreys and this is a particularly engaging book for everyone.

I thought I would check in on Big Red and the two Ks before I closed – and there she is feeding them again! Raptors grow quickly. They condense a lot of change in a short time frame. These two will probably triple their body weight in the first eight days! Laura Culley once told me that human babies would need to gain 15 lbs a day to grow as fast as the hawks. Wow. The two little ones in the image below will always have crops – never fear. There will be no anxious moments. This nest is a pleasure to observe!

Everything is going as expected in Bird World this morning except for an Osprey nest in Wales where it has snowed. I will report on that later today or tomorrow. I am also watching the plight of the Osprey couple at Lyn Brenig in Northern Wales whose platform was destroyed by vandals. Wales Water is hoping the pair will relocate and lay their second egg – which is due today – on another close nest structure they erected for them. Thank you so much for joining me!

Thank you to Cornell Bird Lab and the RTH cam, Achieva Credit Union, and Marders Osprey Cam. I grab my screen shots from their streaming footage.

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.

A sighting of Legacy?

I have been following Legacy since she hatched on the 8th February. She grew strong and beautiful on the Bald Eagle nest of her parents, Samson and Gabrielle, in Jacksonville, Florida. In fact, the second egg did not hatch and Legacy (N24) had her parents complete attention. Despite being an only child she quickly learned skills to help her on her journey to adulthood. Those pinecones that come into the nest, sometimes with needles, are not only good to keep insects away but they also help the raptors learn to grip with their talons. I have watched Red Tail-Hawks play with pinecones like they were soccer balls. Legacy mantled and fought for the fish deliveries, built up strength in her wings, and she fledged. What a beautiful flight that was on the 26th of April. Here is a video clip:

The last confirmed sighting of Legacy at the nest was at 9:53:51 on 28 April. She had been chatting with Gabby and she flew off. Like before, everyone expected her to return to the nest. Many who watch Legacy also watch Harriet and M15s Bald Eagle nest in Fort Myers and know that E17 and E18 return to the nest for food while flying about the neighborhood to build up flight muscles and landing skills. So everyone has been worried when she did not return to the nest.

Today, rumours of a fly by at 9:35:15 seen only on camera 2 circulated. Here is the sequence of that flight below and to the side of the nest tree.

The image below is the area with the juvenile Bald Eagle blown up so the juvenile can be seen better.

Please note the time: 9:35:15. As it happens, the parents fly to the nest tree landing at 9:36:02. They are precisely 47 seconds – not even a minute – behind the juvenile doing the fly by.

Here is the parent landing on the look out branch at 9:36:02.

Here is Samson settled down looking around.

No one can be 100% certain that it was Legacy that did a fly by without DNA evidence or a good enough photograph to compare to one of her on the nest. That said, I believe that Samson has just missed Legacy! Why she does not come to the natal nest, I don’t know. Maybe they are just missing one another. Maybe she is being fed off the nest. We do not know but I believe that she is still in the territory of her parents and as of this morning is flying strong.

The only other news is that, sadly, the egg of Redwood Queen and Phoenix appears to have failed or not been fertile. According to the Ventana Wildlife Society, 50-60% of all California Condor eggs fail to hatch. Hopefully the pair will have more success next year!

Everything is going well on the Achieva Osprey Nest. I will check in there first thing tomorrow morning. Biggie Tot spent the day eating and #2 has really been exercising their wings. My daughter thinks that fledge will happen tomorrow. Stay tuned!

I will leave you with an image from Sturt University in Orange, Australia. The scrape box on the water tower belongs to Peregrine Falcon bonded pair, Xavier and Diamond. They had one hatch in 2020, Izzi. Izzi’s first fledge was a fludge. He went to sleep on the rim of the scrape box and fell out. He was returned to the scrape box. The second fledge he flew into a window and went into care for five days and was returned to the scrape box. The third fledge was a success. Now everyone thought that Izzi would, like all other peregrine fledglings, leave the parental territory by January at the latest. Tomorrow is 1 May and Izzi still brings his prey to the box that I think he believes is his own. I will keep you posted on developments. Izzi is the cutest thing. No one would mind watching him live his live from here.

Everything feels right in Bird World on a late Friday night on the Canadian prairies. Thanks so much for joining me. Let us all hope that the juvenile in those images is Legacy and that she is just being fiercely independent and being fed off screen. Take care everyone.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams. That is where I get my screen shots: Charles Stuart University Falcon Cam Project, NEFlorida and the AEF, Ventana Wildlife Society and Explore.org

Friday Happenings in Bird World

Congratulations to Eve and Eerik on the hatch of White-tailed Eaglet #2 at the Matsalu National Park in Estonia. It looks like this little one joined its older sib around 10:47 am on 30 April (but I stand to be corrected). At that time, there is the most gentle look into the nest cup. The eggshell is clearly visible inside the cup.

This last image (below) was taken at 16:44 during a feeding. You will notice that the eggshell has been moved over to the edge of the nest now. What a beautiful image – the gentleness of these large eagles with their enormous beaks feeding their little ones. Two little bobble heads. How sweet.

You can watch this nest here:

Just as Eve and Eerik are welcoming their little ones, Samson and Gabby continue to call out and search the skies for Legacy. The last ‘for sure’ sighting of Legacy was at 9:53:51 on the 28th. Gabby was on the nest calling loudly for Legacy this morning at dawn, the 30th, along with Samson.

There is an individual, Gretchen Butler (apologies if this is spelled incorrectly), who monitors this nest and has done so for many years. It is my understanding that there are now ‘boots on the ground’ looking for Legacy. We all hope she is found and there is nothing seriously the matter. Hearts go out to Gabby and Samson today. They must be really missing their beautiful Legacy.

At 2:04 EDT, Gabby is still there on the branch scanning the horizon hoping that her Legacy will appear. It is heart wrenching.

30 April 2021. Gabby stares off over the tree tops hoping to see her beautiful Legacy.

There were two fish deliveries at the Achieva Osprey nest this morning. The first one came at 7:48.

The second fish arrived at 10:18. Look who has a crop left from the first fish and who is right up at the dinner table ready for more – it’s ‘Biggie’ Tot. And I am not surprised. S/he is growing leaps and bounds – just look at the size of those wings now. ‘Biggie’ Tot is catching up!

It is calm on the nest and my mind and heart are finally at ease. This little one is going to make it and fledge! And because s/he learned to be a scavenger to live, I am certain s/he has more than a best chance to survive out in the wild.

Some do not even recognize #3 or Biggie Tot but there s/he is standing looking out from the nest with sibling #2 who has the most copper at the back of their head just now.

Big Red and Arthur are not giving any secrets away. The weather has switched and it is windy in Ithaca, New York and this beautiful couple are dried out from the soggy weather on Thursday.

The eggs were laid on 26 and 29 March and 1 April. Big Red averages 38-41 days between the date the egg was laid and hatch. If she were to stay consistent, the first egg would hatch in 3-6 days. However, if we took 35 days which appears to be a general average for all hawks, then today would be the day. Oh, Big Red I wish you would give us some hints! You were talking to those Ks the other day!!!

At eighteen, Big Red is in incredible shape. She is simply an amazing mother and raising hawks is so different to watching the eagles especially when the clutch fledges. Big Red will make sure they learn to hunt while they are building up flight muscles.

Arthur is five years old. He is an amazing mate for Big Red. You will be shocked when you see the amount of prey he brings to her and the eyasses. What a hunter!

You can join the fun and watch this nest here:

The solar camera has just come on the California Condor nest at Big Sur. Eyes remain on that egg of Redwood Queen and Phoenix.

It is 1 degree C in Estonia on the White-tail Eagle nest but it is 31 degrees C on the Skidaway Island Osprey nest and the two little ones are hot. They are under Mom hoping to stay cool! Can you see them?

For those of you that watched the Loch Arkaig Osprey Nest last year along with the 400,000 others, sadness now surrounds that empty nest. Last year Louis and Aila raised three osplets to fledge. Their daily lives brought hope and joy to everyone. This year Louis fixed up the nest and waited for Aila’s arrival from Africa. She has yet to return. No one knows if she is injured and being cared for in a rehab clinic or if she perished during her migration. Poems and tributes are starting to come in and this one by Sue Wallbanks appeared on The Friends of Loch Arkaig FB today. I hope that Sue does not mind my sharing it with you.

Thank you to everyone for joining me today in Bird World. Congratulations to the people of Estonia on the hatch of the second White-tailed Eaglet. I will continue to monitor and post any news of Legacy and we will watch for hatch at both Big Red and Arthur’s nest and Redwood Queen and Phoenix’s nest.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I get my screen shots: Ventana Wildlife Society and explore.org, Cornell Bird Lab RTH Cam, Cornell Bird Lab and Skidaway Audubon, Achieva Credit Union, NE Florida Bald Eagle Nest and the AEF, and the Eagle Club of Estonia. Thank you also to the Friends of Loch Arkaig FB group and Sue Wallbank for the tribute to Alia.

“Biggie’ Tot and more in ‘As the Nest Turns’

One of the individuals watching the Achieva Osprey Nest in St Petersburg, Florida said that the worry over Tiny Tot caused them to age ten years. There are so many people that probably feel the same way. We ached when Tiny Tot did not have food for one, two, and even three days and cried with joy when its crop was full. We had visions of helicopters dropping fish from the sky or setting up a food table. There were times when I went to sleep and thought that I would wake up and Tiny Tot would be dead. How could this little one survive on so little in that exhausting Florida heat?

Tiny Tot is a survivor. He is clever, determined, and willing to eat scraps and chew on catfish bones if it means he lives another day. Tiny Tot watches and listens. So often he was the first to grab the fish on arrival, mantling -only to have the parent take it to feed the two older siblings and, if there was anything left, he was fed. If I heard the phrase ‘natural selection’ or ‘survival of the fittest’ one more time I was going to blow up. What appeared to be happening was the survival of the not so clever bully bird. And then something happened.

Precisely when did mum decide that her third chick was going to survive despite everything it had been through? Diane observes those three chicks of hers. She monitors the time they spend self-feeding and when she sees they have had about 1/3 to a 1/2 of the fish – depending on who is in the nest – she takes the fish and shares it with the other one. What was it that turned this nest around? We might never know. For the past 3 or 4 nights I have slept well with the knowledge that Tiny was alright.

The problem is ‘the’ name now. #3 has been called 3, Tumbles, Braveheart, Lionheart, etc. I gave it the moniker, Tiny Tot. Tiny isn’t actually ‘tiny’ anymore. If he continues to eat and grow like he is doing then by Monday he could be twice as big as he is now. So, moving forward, no more Tiny Tot for me. #3 is now Biggie Tot the Raptor.

Indeed, every time I checked on the nest today, Biggie Tot was eating exactly like he is in the image below. Every time! How is that possible? As long as nothing bizarre happens – and in Bird World anything can change in a blink – Diane and Jack will be celebrating the fledging of not two but three ospreys this year. Well done you two. Jack, you surprised me and came through with 5 or 6 fish sometimes.

Good night Biggie Tot! Sleep well on your full tummy.

29 April 2021

I kept a close watch on the NEFlorida Bald Eagle Nest of Samson and Gabrielle and their fledgling, Legacy today. I briefly stopped in to see a couple of others but my energy and focus was on Legacy.

The last official sighting of Legacy was at 9:53:51 EDT on 28 April.

Legacy and Gabby. They spent the morning together before Legacy flew off. 28 April 2021

What a beauty!

Some think that there could have been a possible flyby at 8:41:16 on the morning of 29 April. It was caught on the tree cam.

Is it Legacy? 29 April 2021

On Thursday, the 29th of April, Samson brought a fish to the nest to try and entice Legacy to come to the nest tree. That didn’t work and Samson wound up eating it. Earlier yesterday, Gabby was with Samson at 11:37:35.

Today, Samson spent the majority of the day – more than eight hours – on the branch looking and listening for Legacy.

29 April 2021

I am not an expert on Bald Eagles but I have trusted acquaintances who are and they shared their knowledge with me today as I searched for some answers. I will share with you everything that I learned as I try to make sense out of what is happening.

First, Bald Eagles do not directly teach the young to hunt prey. I am used to falcons and hawks literally taking their clutch after they have fledged and having ‘hunting parties’ with them. It was not unusual to have Big Red and Arthur showing their juveniles how to catch a squirrel by taking them out and doing just that! A fledgling eagle might make its way to the river and observe their parents catching fish just as WBSE 23 did with Lady and Dad according to one of my trusted sources. The parents and other eagles taught by example.

Secondly, what is typical for a fledgling Bald Eagle is what is happening on the nest of Harriet and M15 in Fort Myers. There E17 and E18 are becoming stronger fliers – going for a flight and then returning to the nest. The parents bring food to the nest for each of them. It is more normal for the fledgling Bald Eagles to stay at the nest for 4-6 weeks doing precisely what E17 and E18 are doing. My trusted sources, who have more than 35 years experience with Bald Eagles together, say it is definitely not typical for a Bald Eagle to fledge one day, take a couple of flights the next, and then leave – poof. I will never sugarcoat anything and neither do the individuals who advised me today. Bald Eagle fledglings are not capable of taking care of themselves in such circumstances. They are still not strong fliers and they do not have the hunting skills required. ‘It normally does not end well’ is what one of them said and that stuck in my head.

So what might have happened? To return to the example of the Sea Eagles, WBSE 26 was chased out of the parent’s territory in the forest of the Sydney Olympic Park by several Pied Currawong. Perhaps Legacy got too far away to return at night. That is a possibility. Legacy might be ‘downed’ and is unable to get up and fly to the nest. That could be a huge problem depending on what other wildlife is in the area. The other possibility, as one of the experts noted, is that Legacy is a single child and it is easier for the parent to feed them off nest. So Gabby could be feeding Legacy while Samson is trying to coax her back to the nest. The other possibilities for this situation are more dire. Many fly into power lines while others get their wings caught up in branches. Fighting to get free they rip their wings. She could have tried to get carrion off the highway and gotten hit by a car. Those are just some of the many possibilities. There could be people out looking for Legacy during the daylight hours – something that we might not ever know. Still, I hope like I did for Tiny now Biggie Tot that everything turns around for the best and we see Legacy or have a positive sighting of her soon and that she is well.

It was a miserable rainy day for Big Red and Arthur at the Cornell Fernow light tower. Everyone is getting excited for a possible hatch watch. It would appear that the oldest egg is 34 days and Big Red’s statistics indicate hatches between 38 and 41 days, longer than normal for other RTHs. So I am not going to start getting excited until next week. Knowing Big Red she will surprise all of us!

A rather soggy Big Red. 29 April 2021

Lunch ‘looks’ reasonably peaceful at ‘The Landings’ Skidaway Island Osprey nest. I use the term ‘looks’ because we all know that looks can be deceiving. The eldest still asserts its dominance but, so far, the younger one is alright. Dad just brought in a fish and already both of the little ones have crops. Their plumage is really changing. It looks like the one to the top has a mask on today.

Lunch is on. 29 April 2021
Playing nice. 29 April 2021

Isn’t this just a cute little cuddle puddle? It is hard to believe that before the next academic term begins at Berkeley, these three will be flying at stealth speeds and catching prey in mid-air.

Such sweeties. Cuddled together in the shade to avoid the hot sunlight. 29 April 2021

It is clearly easier to get dirty when eating if you are white. The falcon parents have a particular call they make when they arrive with the food and it is time to eat. The little ones stand in a group and grab or the parent hangs the food above their beak. They want the chicks to stretch their necks so that they become strong. When there are no more chirping eyasses and no more wide open mouths, feeding is over. No bonking. Just nice full crops and food comas.

Feed me, feed me! 29 April 2021

The nest cup in the White-tailed Eagle nest in Estonia is very deep. It really protects the little one from the cold winds. The temperature at the nest continues to be about 1 degree C. This picture was taken after 5pm in the evening. Look at that wonderful sunshine and blue sky – what a change from the frosty morning they had. You can just see the little bobble head reaching up to get its evening meal. There is another egg in this nest and if it is viable, it should be hatching tomorrow.

Eve feeding her first hatch. 29 April 2021

Louis continues to be attentive to Iris at the Hellgate Osprey Nest – visiting and mating more often since the banded intruder showed up in Louis’s territory. So far there are no eggs in Iris’s nest!

One of several reasons cited for the female raptors being 33-50% larger than the males (dimorphism) can be seen below. The male osprey flies in and lands on the female. If the weight distribution were the opposite, the female could be crushed.

Louis landing on Iris for a mating attempt. 29 April 2021
29 April 2021. Louis and Iris mating (or not?)

I want to leave you with a bit of a smile or maybe a horrible nightmare. I simply cannot imagine Osprey chicks wandering around in all of the stuff that Jack brings to this nest. The stuffed shark and a brown teddy bear are still there along with some hats and sweaters and other toys. Harriet has to be so patient! I just want to go out there and tidy it up for her before the babies hatch at this nest near King George, Virginia. Don’t you?

The hoarde of objects that Jack brings to Harriet as gifts at the Dahlgren Osprey Nest. 29 April 2021

Thank you so much for joining me. Take care of yourselves, stay safe. I will continue to monitor the Bald Eagle nest in Jacksonville for any news of Legacy along with the Big Sur California Condor nest for hatch. Thank you to those who have taken the time to send me a note or ask a question. I am glad you are enjoying my blog. It is so nice to hear from other bird lovers!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams – that is where I grab my screen shots: Dahlgren Osprey Nest, Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, Achieva Credit Union, UC Falcon Cam, Cornell Bird Lab and Skidaway Audubon, NEFlorida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF, Eagle Club Estonia, and Cornell Bird Lab and Montana Osprey Project.