Tuesday in Bird World

10 May 2022

Gosh, golly. 21 degrees C. This means summer!!!! The parks, both of them, were full of joggers, walkers, people having picnics, playing ball, or tennis. The Cricket pitch was busy. Canadians are wearing short sleeves and shorts and we are happy and smiling! Last week was a different story. If it rains again on Thursday we will be back grumbling. I promise. Summer is way too short. You realize I did not say ‘spring’. Honestly we don’t have it any more. A normal summer temperature a couple of decades ago was 18 degrees C. Of course can hit 35-38 C easy. Then we all go inside grumbling. There is a sweet spot around 21-23 degrees C that is just perfect for humans and for the birds on the Canadian prairies.

Note: Bear with me. I did not edit this today!

I left this morning in search of wood ducks. Where are they? I found one couple at one park and three males and one female at another. Even more absent were the Mallards. Sadly, what else I found was that the torrential rains and rising water levels everywhere have made many of the duck and goose eggs non-viable. If the outside coating gets wet, there is no oxygen. This was sad.

The water has receded and you can see some of the clutch that has been abandoned. This area is a small island – there are two islands – in the centre of the pond. It appeared very, very crowded with geese further back incubating and a pair of Wood Ducks walking through.

I wonder how man of our waterfowl lost their eggs this season? Some goslings have hatched but I did not see a single one today. Last year I could not walk for wee ducks and geese. Let’s see what next month brings.

This Mallard couple were taking turns trying to find pond vegetation and keeping an eye on me – I was about 20 metres away but they still knew I was there. The birds around the Witches Hut at St Vital Park are very friendly. During nesting season they get a bit touchy but I think they were waiting to see if I brought any food with me.

The light was not great today. In fact, it gave some rather bizarre colours to the birds.

The colours on this Mallard might even make a Peacock envious.

The Black-capped Chickadees, six of them, were dive bombing me. Did they know I had seed for them in my pocket? or do they now see humans and think seed? Probably the latter. It is a very popular spot for walkers and people that live close by to spend an afternoon, always with birdseed. The lens I had on the camera really compromised what would have been great images taken with a phone camera rather than a 600mm lens.

They came and went many times while I stood and watched. Picking up a single seed, flying up to the tree nearby to crack it on a branch and then back for another one. I wonder how many calories they burn flying back and forth??

The Canada Geese were everywhere – and I do mean everywhere.

Tucked in near to them was a Chipping Sparrow hunting for sees and bugs.

None of those images will win any awards for photography but they are a nice memory of my day and some of the birds that I saw.

When I got home I went back and checked on the Manton Bay Osprey Nest in the UK to see if the third chick had hatched for Blue 33 (11) and Maya. Not yet but you could clearly see a crack forming. One of the reasons that this couple has such huge success is that the eggs normally hatch within a couple of days. Maya always delays incubating the first two eggs until the last has been laid. Talk about a remedy to help with food competition. Of course, it helps to have a big lake with lots of fish in it and not much competition right under your nest!

There was Blue checking out his newly hatched Big and Middle Bobs.

Big Bob looks like it is going to have an attitude.

If you stare at the egg long enough at the back on the left at about 2100, it appears there are some cracks forming. Of course, I could be losing my mind also.

So all is well at Rutland. Then skipping over to the UFlorida-Gainesville Osprey nest and gosh. Middle had a crop at 16:18. So I went back and it appeared that another fish had come to the nest around 15:00.

The fish has arrived. Middle is just lucky. If Mum moved the wrong way she would knock him off that nest. He is on the far side. The chick you are looking at is Big.

Mum is feeding Middle!

Mum continues to feed Middle.

So, today, Middle ate and had a couple of crops. This nest is like a roller coaster. Did you know that birds can get stress lines in their feathers? I don’t know if all banders check but when they checked the three lads at the Port Lincoln Osprey nest they checked for stress lines and found none. Of course, they would not have. Those three males were like three choir boys until they fledged. They they really began to do the ‘dust ups’ shoving one another off the nest, intercepting fish, stealing fish and whatever else three brothers can think to get into. Here is a ‘dog fight’ between Ervie and Falky.

And here is the ‘dust up’ between Ervie and Bazza on the nest where one falls off:

For those of you that do not know the PLO nest it is on a barge at Port Lincoln, Australia. The nest always had a history of siblicide. This year everyone held their breath when the three eggs hatched and there was Little Bob. Well, Little Bob was quite the character. He had to always be at the beak, in front. When Bib Bob tried to bully him, Little Bob just didn’t let it happen and Big Bob got tired and quit. Still we worried until everyone realized that Little Bob was getting rather dominant. At the time the three were to be banded, it was decided that the heaviest of the three would get the one satellite-pak. Everyone was sure it would go to Bazza the eldest. No. Ervie – who never missed a meal and who had been right up front that morning – got the GPS system! And we cheered! The three were Bazza the eldest with the red band, Falky the middle with the yellow, and Ervie the youngest with the dark green band. Falky – being the middle – did not always get much attention until he dove off the barge and caught a fish! Falky was also the one spotted 300 km north of Port Lincoln. Bazza was the reluctant flier and stayed on the nest to let Mum feed him. Then he left. I hope we hear about Falky and Bazza. Ervie was flying about and then Ervie got one of his talons pulled out. Who knows how. As a result he stays around Port Lincoln and has a fondness for Puffer Fish! He is adored by many.

Sometimes it is nice to sit back and remember those really wonderful nests and last year, PLO was one of the best!

If you are into the translocation project that has been going on in the UK, you will be excited to read the announcement by Poole Harbour today on their FB page:

Single Bald Eagle Mums have a difficult job especially if the nest is in an area where there are constant intruders. There had been a bit of a dry spell at the MN-DNR nest but today around 16:15 nest time, Nancy brought in a huge fish. E1 ate well. I understand that a group of school children are calling E1 – Harriet. If it isn’t official, it should be. It is a perfect name to honour her missing and believed dead young dad, Harry.

The winds are still blowing strong in Scotland and the rain will start pelting down at the Loch Arkaig nest in the West. Dorcha is doing a great job keeping those eggs incubated.

At the Loch of the Lowes, the wind is blowing but you can hear the ducks and geese flying in for the evening. Blue NC0 looks pretty content on the nest of hers and Laddie’s. Not long til there will be chicks here.

One of the things that people/researchers/naturalists and lovers of Osprey look at it is the return rate. How many fledglings from a nest in a particular year with particular parents return as juveniles and are officially seen? Well the Llyn Clywedog nest is doing a bit of celebrating today. So far two out of three of the 2020 trio have returned – 550 and 551. They only need 552 and they would have a 100% success rate. They are going to have bragging rights regardless for some time. This is fantastic news.

Richmond and Rosie have been fighting off intruders this entire season. We are a few days til hatch watch. Here is the banner for SF Bays Hatch Watch announcement at the SF Bay nest of these two great Ospreys.

Here is the link to Richmond and Rosie’s streaming cam:

This is the 15:49 feeding at the Cal Falcon nest of Annie and Alden. Cute. So cute.

This is the 16:55 feeding at the Manchester New Hampshire Peregrine Falcon scrape. Crazy!

Everything is perfectly fine at the nest of Big Red and Arthur on the Cornell Campus. L4 can almost be heard saying, “My crop’s as big as your crop! Nah, nah, nah!” Every time L1 does something, L4 seems to copy her.

Big Red looks like she is ready for an evening break before she snuggles down with these four Ls.

So far, so good. Food was on both the MN-DNR and the UFlorida-Gainesville nests. One day at a time. Today it was all good. So from me and all the garden gang and TH1 at the Two Harbours nest in the Channel Islands, good night. Take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or FB pages where I took my screen captures: LRWT, UFlorida-Gainesville, PLO, Birds of Poole Harbour, MN-DNR, Woodland Trust, Loch of the Lowes, SF Bay Ospreys, Cal Falcons, Peregrine Network, Cornell Bird Lab RTH, and Explore.org

Early Monday in Bird World

18 April 2022

The sun is shining bright, the sky is blue with some clouds, and the Dark-eyed Juncos and European Starlings arrived in the garden three or four hours ago! There is not supposed to be more snow for another five or six days – thankfully.

Mr Woodpecker came for some of the suet a few hours later. Normally he goes to the suet cylinder with the wooden flap that helps him sit better but today he decided he wanted the peanut suet.

I love the rustic garden we have created that allows us to interact with wildlife in an urban setting rather than setting boundaries to keep the birds, the squirrels, the rabbits, and sometimes a raccoon separate and apart. We seem to have all found a way to coexist which certainly brings a lot of joy.

I received a note from a friend of forty years this morning. They live in a beautiful flat in New Zealand near a place where they can observe ducks and swans but, with the sale of the family cottage, they are now longing for a home with a large garden. Whether it is a large or small space, each of us can bring joy to our lives by helping our feathered or furred friends. In fact, it is often so much easier to manage a small space with a single feeder. Everything helps! Yesterday a huge flock of robins came to our neighbours. She didn’t have seed of any kind but she had dried cranberries, frozen blueberries, and some apples she chopped up. The Robins were very grateful.

The day started off really well for Little Bit at the UFlorida Osprey nest in Gainesville. Mum called and Dad brought another fish to her at 09:34.

Little Bit – in the middle – stretches its neck really far and gets some amazing bites of fish. This little one is not bothered at all when it comes to putting its head in front of Big sibling. Did I actually think at one time this wee baby would not survive? He is so feisty and what a great Mum he has. She tries each beak when she has flakes of fish. Not one of the chicks is ever left out. Slow and methodical. I am so impressed by her.

Big Bob (left) has its dark oily head today and has been seen doing a lot of preening as its new darker-grey wooly down comes in. Little Bit (middle) still looks rather soft and young. It is healthy – look at that fat little bottom. Middle Bob (top right) is in between the other two siblings. Tomorrow Middle Bob will look much more like Big Bob. The dinosaur phase is upon us.

Yesterday, at the Captiva osprey nest, the last fish was delivered around noon. Was recreational boat traffic the cause of no deliveries later in the day? I always wonder especially on a holiday weekend.

The first fish today came in and Middle grabbed it. I think Lena was planning on dividing it up but she didn’t get a chance. [Chat uses the term ‘Little’ when I say Middle]. I hope Andy brings in another fish soon for Lena and Little [Mini].

Idris brought in a super fish for Telyn at the Dyfi nest and then incubated the eggs for her so she could have a good feed.

Idris is one of my favourites.

Aran and Mrs G have both been on the alert this morning at the Glaslyn nest. No eggs so far – that’s a good thing.

Aran looking around from the rim of the nest.

Mrs G. looking at the intruder above the nest.

Both on the look out from the perch. There are still floaters around looking for a mate and a nest. They often cause a bit of chaos.

Yesterday, Blue NC0 laid her third and, hopefully, last egg of the 2022 season. If all three hatch, Laddie LM12 is going to be one busy male at the Loch of the Lowes. Last year the couple fledged two chicks.

Here is a short video clip of the third egg being laid.

Maya and Blue 33 (11) will have the first Osprey chicks to hatch on the streaming cams in the UK. I will alert you as we approach pip.

All three eaglets at the West End had a nice early breakfast. Thunder told them to stay away from the edge!

There were some gorgeous views from the Two Harbours nest at sunrise.

Chase wanted some time with the eaglet so he brought in a big stick and coaxed Cholyn off the nest. Sounds just like Shadow at the Big Bear Valley nest! You can see that stick to the side of Chase.

The Pittsburgh Hayes eagle nest would sure like some of that warm California Sun today. Everyone looks miserable. I can only imagine what that stock of fish smells like.

Unbelievable. Only Bob at the National Arboretum nest is no longer a fluffy little white teddy bear. Just look at that eaglet with that big crop. There is still some white natal down on its head.

The image below is the eaglet on 6 April. Twelve days ago! The saying is: An eaglet grows from three inches to 3 feet in 3 months. That is incredible.

Mother Goose has her eggs in the old abandoned Bald Eagle nest at Decorah North in Iowa. She seems to be doing fine. No disturbances and unlike dear sweet Diasy, Mother Goose has help.

The camera operator searched and found the Bald Eagles working on their new nest this morning. It is really windy!!!!!!!!

Harry and Nancy were both on the Minnesota DNR nest as snow was falling this morning. Everyone was having a big feast. Each parent was eating and feeding an eaglet. Beautiful.

Liberty and Guardian were both on the Redding Bald Eagle nest this morning too. It looks, from the size of all of these eaglets, that we are really going to be busy when they all start fledging at once!

Would you like an opportunity to name the two Redding eaglets? Here is where you go to fill in the form:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSepb87S7zrcMZI6PXzhLCeFD6t21xj5sjw7mEV9n2aT_34CWg/viewform

Names already used include the following: Liberty, Patriot, Spirit, Guardian, Conehead, Freedom, Hope, Peace, Shasta, Justice, Stormy, Windy, Lassen, Pi, Paddy, Poppy, Birdie, Bogey, Solo, River, Sky, Hope, Honor, Glory & Rebel.

The whole family was on the nest this morning at Big Bear after Shadow brought in a really super fish.

What a peaceful image. Spirit looking out on Big Bear Lake while Jackie finishes up some fish. Spirit has such a huge crop! Glad there was some fish left for Jackie.

While the ‘New Guy’ is incubating, Annie chases an unwanted male from The Campanile. Oh, and we so wished Annie would have some peace and quiet.

We are waiting for the announcement of the name for ‘The New Guy’.

Jan brought some moss to soften the nest that he shares with his mate, Janika. Their artificial nest is in Jogeva County in Estonia. It was built in 2021. Black Storks are very rare in Estonia and everything is done to encourage them to nest successfully. If you look carefully you can see that there are two eggs already in the nest.

Big Red and Arthur have been taking turns incubating the four eggs. In fact, this year, Arthur has become a bit bolder in his attempts to get Big Red off the nest so that he can care for the eggs, too. We will be on pip watch at the end of the week. I won’t be able to sleep!!!!!!

In past years we have seen Big Red encrusted in snow, blow off by high winds, and drenched by torrential rains. With four eyases it will be imperative that they get under the adult until they are able to regulate their own temperature if bad weather hits the Cornell campus.

Big Red is certainly a good name for the Queen of Red-tail Hawks. She has the most gorgeous deep red plumage whereas Arthur is lighter.

You can really tell the difference in the couple’s colouring by looking at BR above and then Arthur below.

It has been a wonderful day, so far, at the nests. That is a great way to begin the week. Thank you so much for being with us today. Take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: UFlorida-Gainesville Osprey Cam, Captiva Osprey Cam and Window for Wildlife, Dyfi Osprey Project, Brywd Gwyllt Glaslyn, Scottish Wildlife Trust, LRWT, Explore.org, Pix Cams, NADE-AEF, MN-DNR, Redding Eagles, FOBBV, Cal Falcons, Eagle Club of Estonia, and Cornell Bird Lab RTH.