You need to sit down for this. Seriously, you do. Louis brought Iris, the oldest breeding Osprey in the world, a fish! This is such a big deal that I almost didn’t believe it when I saw him land on Iris’s nest, fish held tight in his talons, on Monday 26th of April. It was 10:04.
Iris will enjoy the fish. Of course, we all know that Iris can catch her own fish – she is a pro. It is the simple act of doing something nice for her. You see, Louis has two nests. This is Iris’s nest. If she had a ‘solid, full time mate’ they would help her restore the nest each year. The nest was in a particular state this year. Last year Iris’s egg got eaten by a Raven and then a squirrel dared to climb up. Iris practically tore her nest apart getting rid of that critter. Iris has been diligent, working hard to get the rails built up and a fine moss cushion on the top. The nest that Louis shares with Starr is at the baseball park. Both nests are in Louis’s territory. He is in charge of protecting the area from intruders, especially Bald Eagles who also hunt for fish. Because Iris’s nest is in Louis’s territory, it also means that she will never have another mate – for the simple reason that it is Louis’s territory. That is the long and short of it. Louis does not help Iris in the way that a normal mate would – he won’t help with the nest, incubate the eggs if any are laid, protect the eggs, relieve Iris, or bring food to her and the chicks. Iris is, in reality, a single parent with all the problems we have seen the females have that are alone. Daisy the Duck had her eggs eaten by the Crows. Milda starved and had to leave, her chicks dying from hypothermia. The list could go on but it takes two active parents to be successful. Louis helps Starr and normally brings her the fish. Apparently Louis brought Iris a fish last year – I missed that. And, for whatever reason, he took it back! This year he didn’t. Maybe he is growing up.
Iris is a beauty. She returns every year from her winter migration in top form. This year she arrived on 7 April. Louis has been over ‘visiting and mating’ since her arrival but so far, no eggs have been laid.
The issue at this nest is very similar to that faced by Milda. The female needs a good mate who will provide her fish while she incubates the eggs and who will bring loads of fish for her and the hatchlings. She cannot leave the eggs or the chicks unattended. Louis has failed to provide food for Iris and the chicks. Because of that, there has been only one chick fledge since they bonded. That was in 2018.
Many would like to see Iris raise a clutch of osplets. She is, after all, the grand dame of Ospreys. Even I fell into that mindset but, I changed my mind. Iris has fledged 30 or 40 chicks into the world -with Stanley, one with Louis and perhaps other partners before Stanley. Iris has paid her dues to the Osprey DNA lineage. I would like to see her live healthy and happy for many more decades. Raising chicks is very hard on the female (and the male if he does his job). Iris needs to sit in the sun and enjoy her summer vacation in Montana.
Nature is very difficult to observe and it is even harder not to be impacted by it. As humans we might not ever understand the level of hunger Milda had or what it is like to see your child or chick starve in front of you. Iris has seen both. Perhaps while her body is telling her to breed, maybe nature will have another idea. We wait.
Iris enjoying her fish as the sun sets.
Everything seems to be going well over at the Fort St Vrain Bald Eagle Nest in Colorado today. The little one is growing and getting bigger by the day. Here it is getting ready to have lunch. Blink and this baby will be totally covered in thick thermal down with lots of pin feathers!
Just take a close look at the image below. Just imagine that each and every one of the triplets has a crop like the one in the middle. Imagine a food coma so heavy that you simply fall flat on your face with your legs spread. Then look at the picture again. These are the Pittsburgh Hays Bald Eaglets.
Sometimes Mom or Dad still decides to do the feeding over at the Duke Farms Bald Eagle Nest. Wow. Can you tell Li’l from Big? I can’t.
These two will be banded and fitted with satellite transmitters shortly. It is a great study to find out how far the eaglets migrate from the natal nest. We should also find out their gender!
Over at the Minnesota DNR Bald Eagle nest, the two have been enjoying some gourmet meals – such as duck. Today, it is hard to tell what is on the menu. It doesn’t seem to matter. These two have really grown. More often than not, these kiddos have bulging crops, too. Harry is a great provider and Nancy and him have made a wonderful team.
There have been lots of fish deliveries for Kisatchie at the Kisatchie National Forest Bald Eagle Nest near Kincaid Lake in Central Louisiana. The Alligator Gar has been there for a week or more…Bald Eagles don’t seem to like them!
Anna still likes to feed her ‘baby’ as dad, Louis, looks on. You can see a few dandelions hanging on. Kistachie will be ready to fledge along with Bib and Li’l at Duke Farms – too soon.
Oh, the winds have been blowing in Kansas today. Tiger and Lily did get a food delivery. Right now Lily Rose is in the natal nest and Tiger is holding on tight up on a big branch near to the right of the camera.
Can you find Tiger?
Food has been on the nest at the Savannah Ospreys but it looks like the day they had the powerful rain and the osplets couldn’t eat caused the oldest one to be food insecure. This morning he was extremely aggressive to the youngest one. Here they are standing together. I worry about this nest as the food deliveries are not good.
It is finally dark in St Petersburg, Florida and Jack deserves a break. Honestly, I don’t know what got in to him today. Did he find a stash of fish somewhere? Jack made SIX fish deliveries to that Achieva Osprey nest on Monday, 26 April. Incredible. The last one was at 7:30:48.
Here is that last delivery. Tiny Tot is right there cheering Dad on! Look at those nice legs on Tiny. He is really growing. It looks like he is wearing stilettos.
Tiny Tot didn’t get the last delivery of the day. But that’s OK.
Tiny Tot had one of his infamous beach ball crops. He looks so silly standing in the nest preening. You can only see his crop but not his head. And his legs look hilarious. Tiny Tot is not hungry.
Nearing the end of the fish, Diane and Tiny Tot seem to think they might just want a little taste. They move in on sibling #1. Tiny Tot steps right in front of sibling #2 and doesn’t even bat an eyelash. The kid is getting more confident every day.
At 8:25:14 Tiny gets his first bite and that is the end of the story. That fish is finished around 8:32. Sleep well everyone!
Monday morning at Achieva. The first fish comes in at 7:02:16. Tiny Tot looks for an opening and Mom Diane has the fish. Tiny gets fed for about fifteen minutes and then sibling #1 pulls the fish away from Diane gently. Later, Diane feeds #1 some of the fish and then feeds Tiny Tot at the end – in front of 2. It was a pleasant morning. Again, 2 is not so interested in the morning. Sibling 2 gets more food aggressive after 11am.
It wasn’t a fish delivery but it was a delivery. The little marshmallows are growing up. No rivalry. Annie and Grinnell feed until there isn’t a beak open. No one pecks another one – they know that they will be fed. Oh, how I love falcons and hawks. It is so different. So reassuring.
Thank you so much for joining me today. There is certainly a lot going on in Bird World. Sometimes it is just too much to try and fit in a single blog. Some of the nests and these amazing birds deserve more attention than they are getting. Oh, for more hours in the day. Have you noticed how fast time passes since the pandemic started? Blink and another week has passed. Take care. Stay safe!
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I get my screen shots: Achieva Credit Union, Cornell Bird Lab and Skidaway Audubon, KNF Bald Eagle Cam, X-cel Energy, MN DNR, Duke Farms, Farmer Derek, Cornell Bird Lab and the Montana Osprey Project, Pittsburg Hays Bald Eagle Cam, and UC Berkeley Falcon Cam.