Wow! What an afternoon in Bird World

21 April 2022

I have hardly moved from observing two bird streaming cams so far today. Those are the UFlorida-Gainesville Osprey Cam and the Cornell Red-tail Hawk cam of Big Red and Arthur. Each nest had potential issues. Blood was seen on the outside of the egg of L1. Was this just the normal amount of blood coming off the umbilical cord? and then a second egg began to pip! At the Florida nest it is difficult to tell who is the nastiest towards Little Bit. Is it Big? or is it Middle? Last year at the Achieva Osprey Nest in St Petersburg, the largest sibling let the Middle one constrain and peck Tiny Tot Tumbles, the third hatch. It was horrible. Tiny Tot survived and became the dominant one on the nest. I am hoping Little Bit does, too.

A nice sized piece of fish arrived on the UFlorida nest. Little Bit had none of the earlier fish and was hungry. He managed to grab a bite from Mum before he was clobbered by one of the older siblings. Our little scrapper from a few days ago quickly went into submission. He has to be tired and somewhat dehydrated but, like all third hatches, he hung in there and waited and watched.

Big is hovering over Little Bit.

Little Bit looks like he is down and not paying attention.

Watch. There Little Bit goes scurrying behind Big. He needs some of this fish to help rehydrate him and help him get strong again.

Both Big and Middle had eaten earlier and had big crops. It is good they got full quickly at this feeding so Little Bit could have some food.

At 15:17 we get a glimpse of Little Bit’s head behind Mum. He is in a food coma. Mum continues to eat on the fish and give more bites to the bigger siblings once in awhile until well past 15:30. There was lots of fish at this feeding and things should be settling down but both the two bigger siblings still believe that there is not enough coming on the nest for three. We wait and hope for another large fish today before bedtime for these three. That should help ease the anxiety although often there is lots of food on the nest and the older siblings continue to exert their dominance.

The miracle might have happened. At 16:58 a nice fish landed on the nest. The two older siblings have big crops. Little Bit looks so skinny.

His wings are so thin.

The big ones ate some of that fish but there is lots left. Little Bit is going to get a lot of fish (I hope). Sometimes the older ones eat til you think they will be sick just to keep the youngest from getting any food.

You can see Little Bit’s skinny wings up by Mom’s left shoulder being fed. This is their biggest growth period. Little Bit needs lots of food. It looks like he gets fed and then one of the bigger ones moves in for some more. I hope he stays put and lets them eat so when they leave he is there ready for more.

There. Little Bit was fed until 17:13 and moved away full.

Little Bit has gone to sleep. Meanwhile it looks like Middle Bob is back up for more fish. Around 17:15 chaos breaks out. Little Bit raises its head like it wants more fish. Big and Middle get into it and then they go after Little Bit. This is not a happy Osprey nest. Middle continues to be the worst towards Little Bit. He will snatch him by the nape of the neck and shake the baby. That always scares me.

They are full. Middle and Big have eaten and eaten. The power plays are entirely unnecessary. Wish for Little Bit to be strong and smart as well as tenacious. He needs to outwit the big ones.

Well, Little Bit is eating again and the two older siblings are watching! Bravo.

It is nerve wrecking. The two are now resting. Little Bit continues to eat! He eats til he is full and then Mum enjoys some of the nice fish. It is 17:25. We can all rest easy tonight. More fish tomorrow!!!!!!!!!! Please, Dad.

Big Red and Arthur have four eggs. The first began with a pip yesterday afternoon. That hatch has caused some worry because of some blood showing. It is normal for there to be a little blood from the umbilical cord. We will have to wait and see. The chick is alive. Is it having trouble with that inner membrane of the egg which is really tough to get through? Around noon another egg began pipping!

You can clearly see the pipping from the second egg, the splotchy one, at the top. L1’s egg is to the far left.

Arthur has brought the first prey item to the nest for the Ls or Big Red if she gets hungry. Big Red will probably remain on the eggs til L1 has hatched fully.

Grab some sleep now Big Red. You are going to be very busy tomorrow.

It is 15:26 and Big Red is extremely restless, rolling and checking on the eggs. Fingers crossed for that wee one to get through that membrane and the rest of that egg!

What do you do while you are waiting for one egg to finish hatching and another to get on with its pipping – on a very windy day? You play with sticks!

At 15:52 we get a glimpse.

Well, I am worn out with the excitement. L1 is working hard to get out of that egg. There is lots of movement. Gosh, I bet everyone watching Big Red and this little one struggle to get out of that egg are having sympathy pains. It won’t be long. Then L2 will be hot on the trail. It would be grand if the four hatched within 24-48 hours.

None of the raptors normally help the little ones hatching. It can actually cause them harm. I have seen some remove a half egg shell that is sticking if the hatchling is free elsewhere. Akecheta did that this year with one of the triplets.

It is now 17:02.

Big Red is not going to lay on the egg. She is going to just wiggle her breast feathers over it. Good progress. It is 17:03 and you can see the little one move. It needs to pop that top off – but it might need to rest a bit. Hatching is very tiring.

The Glaslyn Osprey nest cam is back on line. What a soft nest Mrs G and Aran have made. You can see Mrs G rolling the first egg. We will be looking for a second tomorrow.

Aran looks particularly handsome in the sunshine as he sits on the perch. He has returned from migration in top form!

Towards dusk Aran arrives at the nest with a fish for Mrs G.

He takes over incubation duties while Mrs G eats on the perch. All is well on the Glaslyn nest! Yes.

Iris, the oldest Osprey in the world, has her nest on a parking lot near Hellgate Canyon in Missoula, Montana. It is cool and blustery there today. Iris arrived a little after 14:00 and did some nest work and then stood and looked around.

I wonder if Iris is looking for Louis? Does she think he might grace her with a visit and a fish? It is hard to say. Louis still considers his primary nest with Starr over at their new nest at the baseball park.

Well, Iris is nothing short of stunning for a bird that is 28 or 29 years old (they are unsure since she is unringed). Simply gorgeous.

The failed nest in Illinois is getting a new artificial nest and the two surviving eaglets will be taken up as soon as it is secured! Amazing work. Thank you to Ellen for posting this on the Big Bear FB page.

Thank you for joining me. It is wonderful to know that the two eaglets will be back with their parents in a safe nest. We will have, for sure, at least one hatch tonight at the Cornell Red-tail Hawk nest and Little Bit will sleep and grow. What a relief to see him get a good feed. Take care everyone. There should be a fuzzy eyas in the news for tomorrow. Maybe 2. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and/or FB pages where I took my screen captures: Friends of Big Bear, Cornell Lab RTH, U-Florida at Gainesville Ospreys, Brywd Gwyllt Glaslyn, and the Montana Osprey Project.

Late Wednesday in Bird World

20 April 2022

If you have been checking on the three osplets in the University of Florida-Gainesville nest today, you might have become quite distressed. The first fish did not arrive until 11:11:41 and Big made it known – after Little Bit – made a couple of beaks – that it would eat first. The beaking continued by Big and then Mum got them all lined up and fed peacefully by moving the fish.

There has been no more fish deliveries. It is 24 or 75.2 degrees with winds of 21 kph or 13 miles per hour. It is, of course, hotter up on that high nest with the light reflecting off the shiny metal of the lights.

Big is hot and cranky and very hungry as are the other two siblings and Mum. Hopefully this is not going to set a pattern for the future. If fish deliveries can get more normalized it would be very helpful.

Mum has left the nest. Has she gone fishing?

At 17:40:11, Mum landed on the nest with a fish with a head on it. I am going to presume that in the time she was away from the nest she caught this fish. My reasoning? This dad always brings in headless fish to the nest. I had hopes that the feeding would go smoothly but because it is slow going starting with the head, bedlam broke out with Big taking its frustration out on everyone. So sad that this is happening.

At 18:06 almost an hour after the fish landed on the nest, Little Bit moved up and is being fed. Relief.

There is enough fish left to fill Little Bit up! Mom is pulling the flesh off the skin for Little Middle. She has eaten some along the way and she will eat the skin and the tail for sure. It would be really nice if Dad brought in a second fish. Wonder where he is?

I can tell Little Bit is being fed by the way his body is moving. He sort of spreads his wings out sometimes too. Mum is also feeding Middle at the same time. They will all go to bed with some fish in their tummy.

Give Mum a great big round of applause. She was still feeding Middle and Little Bit at 18:18! I am impressed. Middle got full and moved and Mum was still finding flakes for Little Bit at 18:27. Bravo.

Further chaos evolved when Mum decided she wanted to brood all three of them! Good night little ones. Happy Fish Dreams.

In other Bird World news.

At 14:25 you could see the little beak of L1 chipping away at the egg wanting to hatch!

The Smithsonian Magazine has put out an article about the impact of Avian Flu on the Bald Eagles (US). In Manitoba, we have two confirmed cases of Avian Flu – a Bald Eagle that just migrated and a Snow Goose.

I would not want to get in the way of any of the Eagle parents. They caught the female at the Pittsburgh-Hayes nest protecting her three eaglets from an intruder.

Not only are the hawks and falcons laying four eggs but there is an Osprey nest in the Kielder Forest that now has four osprey eggs. Oh, geez. Can you tell already I don’t want that 4th egg to hatch?? It is at Kielder Nest 1A.

@ Forestry England

The Kielder Web site says, “It is the fifth time in total that there have been four eggs on their nest. 2016 was the first occasion and the pair raised them to fledging, but sadly the eldest was never seen after that. On the more recent occasions a chick has died young or hatches failed. Weather is a key factor, but disruption by intruders can also cause problems.”

No eggs yet at Poole Harbour but Blue 022 did bring CJ7 a nice fish today! Fantastic.

A reminder about the Cal Falcons Q & A. I just had one large laugh when I saw a comment by ‘B’ about the time. ‘B’s’ question is: Can I assume that this is noon Pacific time and not 2pm? Here is the posting! And that is a great question. Did the system automatically set the time for CDT not Berkeley time? I plan to ask and will get back to everyone as soon as hear. The nice thing is that Sean always posts the whole discussion after. The sad thing is that you miss submitting questions. This should be a very informative chat after all that has happened.

It has just been a lovely day and I am going to try and navigate the snowy sidewalks and go for a bit of a walk. There are apparently Wood Ducks back in the City and Canada Geese have been making nests on beaver dams because of the snow. It is rather crazy out there. The snow last night did not materialize. Thank goodness.

Take care everyone. Thank you so much for joining me today. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and/or web pages where I took my screen captures: Kielder Forest, Cal Falcons, Cornell Bird Lab, UFlorida-Gainesville Ospreys, and Poole Harbour Ospreys.

Tuesday in Bird World

19 April 2022

This is a view of the storm that hit the other day. Today it is partly sunny but, there is another storm on its way. Winter continues for many of us!

Big Red and Arthur have snow. It seems every year Big Red will get encrusted in snow and ice and we sit and worry. She is used to the cold snowy wet weather living on the Cornell campus all her life (or nearby at Brooktondale where she hatched). Pip watch is the end of the week!

The Kakapo Recovery posted an announcement about their t-shirt fundraiser. That is incredibly wonderful – $27,000 is a wonderful amount for selling t-shirts. Well done. Waiting for ours to arrive!

This group and everyone associated with it does an amazing job trying to keep this critically endangered non-flying parrot alive. From changing transmitters, doing wellness checks, or ensuring birds that need care get off the islands to the Dunedin Vet – it is all fantastic.

And one another announcement that I am posting from FB. A Place Called Hope is one of those wildlife rehabbers like CROW that really goes all out for its patients. This Osprey needs fresh whole fish. Do you live in the area? Can you help? Do you know someone who does and could help? Give them a call!

Yesterday I was asked if I get terrified looking at the three West End eaglets now that one fell off and landed on a ledge below. (Thanks to Dr Sharpe, the baby is back on the nest.) The answer is ‘yes’. Utterly terrified.

I pondered that question for quite awhile before and after answering. We recognize that there are risks every day for our feathered friends. An eaglet could fall off the nest, a parent could be accidentally killed and not return with food for the female and chicks, a predator could come and predate the nestlings, fishing line can arrive at a nest and cut through the little legs and wings. We know these things like we have memorized a list of everything that could happen to the birds. But, until it happens, the absolute fragile life that they live does not register completely. That is what it was like for me with Grinnell. Grinnell was always going to return on the ledge and bring food to Annie. Grinnell was always going to protect The Campanile. Grinnell was always going to make a huge mess plucking a pigeon for the eyases. Grinnell would always be there. Until he didn’t come home. The eaglets were safe on the rock until one of them fell off. Absolutely ‘B’ terrified and helpless.

Here is a very different image of that Osprey nest at the University of Florida at Gainesville.

Gorgeous wide open spot for a nest just the way Ospreys love it.

The osplets are really hot today. Mum is trying to shade them just like yesterday. Huge change beginning for Little Bit’s plumage. The back of his head is now oily black!

Look carefully. He is sleeping to the left of Mum. Look at the back of his head. Then look at the older sibling just left of Mum’s shoulder. They are all actively moving into the reptilian stage.

Feedings have been difficult to observe with Mum keeping her back to us.

Not a Raptor. Ferris Akel loves Roseate Spoonbills. Audubon has a lovely article about the oldest Roseate Spoonbill in the world and she is still raising chicks!

The two eaglets at the Dale Hollow nest are waiting for breakfast and lunch! It is often hard to tell them apart these days. Beautiful juvenile feathering.

Aran and Mrs G have been on their nest in the Glaslyn Valley protecting a piece of fish against a bunch of crows.

The rain has stopped at the Dyfi Nest of Idris and Telyn. Everything is fine on their nest.

Blue NC0 and Laddie have a wonderful day at Loch of the Lowes. This is just the most beautiful place for an Osprey nest. So serene. No motor boats, no people. Three eggs.

Louis and Dorcha seem to have settled on the old nest with camera 1 at Loch Arkaig.

As far as I know, Dylan and Seren Blue 5F have not experienced any other visits from the Goshawk at Llyn Clywedog.

And I have two new Peregrine Falcon nests for you. One is in Buckinghamshire in the UK and the other is part of the streaming cams of the Chesapeake Bay Conservancy. Thank you to ‘L’ and her daughter for news of the nest in New England!

The camera on the Buckinghamshire Nest is really good – nice and clear, good definition and a great view. Waiting for eggs.

Here is the link to the Buckinghamshire streaming falcon cam:

The second nest belongs to Boh and Barb and they also have four eggs this year. It seems to be a year for four eggs! Those eggs were laid on March 15, 18, 20 and 23rd of March. We are on pip watch.

Here is the link to the Chesapeake Conservancy falcon cam:

And last but never least, we are on fledge watch for Little (known as Mini on the Captiva Chat). She is 59 days old today. Should be flying soon.

On the right is Middle (Little) and on the left is Little (Mini). You can clearly see the difference in their size. If you watch the streaming cam check out the difference in their legs. Little (Mini) has long legs to help him fish! Middle (Little) has short stocky legs and she is bigger overall.

Both ‘babies’ (hardly babies anymore) had fish this morning at 09:45. There is Middle (or Little on chat) eating its own fish on the left. Middle fledged at 08:13:12 on April the 16th. The long thin legs are like those of Idris at the Dyfi nest and most believe that Middle (Little) is a male. Little (or Mini) is being fed by Lena. She is a nice big female it seems.

Middle (Little) could fly any moment it seems. Here is a link to the Captiva camera:

Thank you so much for joining me today. Please take care everyone! See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and/or FB pages where I took my screen captures: UFlorida-Gainesville Ospreys, Cornell Bird Lab RTH, Dyfi, Loch of the Lowes and the Scottish Wildlife Trust, Brywd Gwyllt Glaslyn, Captiva Ospreys and Window for Wildlife, Buckinghamshire Council Falcon Cam, Chesapeake Conservancy, DHEC, CarnyxWild, A Place Called Hope, Kakapo Recovery, and Explore.org.

Little Bit Starts the Fight!

17 April 2022

Sometimes the third hatch likes to start the fights. The Little Bit at the University of Florida at Gainsville Osprey nest did that very thing today. Then it ducked and covered while the two big sibs went at it. Nothing terrible but, yes…I think I might call you Cracker Jack little one.

Enjoy!

Thank you to the U-Florida Gainsville for their streaming cam where I took this video clip and capture.

Late Wednesday in Bird World

13 April 2022

The snow on the Canadian Prairies arrived later than expected – around 07:45 in my garden this morning. The wind roared and the snow blew and then, around 15:30 it calmed. We have been told that there will be several calm periods with rain and snow arriving again later tonight. The 27 European Starlings came. The woodpecker arrived for suet. Tens of dozens of Sparrows and seriously, I am not exaggerating, 350 Dark eyed-Juncos. We continued to clear paths on the deck and pour a line of millet and sunflower seeds – about 30 feet long – several times today. Everyone ate there or at the seed and suet cylinders and feeders. It felt good to help them. Many are arriving or returning to eat now that the snow has stopped. We received about 55 cm of snow. Thankfully the old snow had all melted. The whole of western Canada can use the moisture. We have had droughts for 4-5 summers. I hope that this lessens the wildfires during the summer.

The UFlorida Gainesville Osprey Nest was on ‘S’s list of top ten osprey nests to watch. I must find out more about this family from her. My interest is, of course, the fact that there are three little ones and how well this wee osplet can manage against the older siblings.

Little Bob at the UFlorida Gainesville campus Osprey nest is doing fine. He is growing. They all scramble about in the nest bowl and I really dislike the camera they are using but…all that matters is that he is doing well.

There is Little Bob on the far left.

The chicks at the Captiva Osprey nest are almost ready to fledge. They love to self-feed but, Lena being the great Mum that she is prefers to do it so that both get fish. Keeping it fair. I love it. Here are some images from today.

Chicks watching, totally focused. Such beautiful birds.

Lots of flapping. Look at those long legs! This osplet wants to compete with Idris at the Dyfi Nest for the nickname, ‘Daddy Longlegs’.

Those legs of Middle sure look a lot longer than Mum’s! Little continues to love looking out over the side of the nest rim.

Another nest on ‘S’s list is the osprey nest on the Narrow (Pettaquamscutt) River. Here is a view of the nest. No occupants yet! And a link to their camera in case you want to check later.

The Ferris State University Ospreys are also on ‘S’s list and there is an osprey on the nest but no eggs yet! The couple have been working on getting the nest in good shape.

Here is another view of the nest at Ferris State University in Michigan.

This is the link to their camera: https://osprey.ferris.edu/

In the UK, Louis has decided that he likes the nest that he shared with Aila better than the nest he had with Dorcha last year. As a result, Louis has convinced Dorcha to change nests. This is very interesting behaviour. It is such a gorgeous nest. Louis seems, by the move, to have accepted that Aila will not be returning. This will be her second season not to return from migration. Louis and Aila were an incredible pair. I am looking forward to watching Louis with his new mate this season.

The couple are settling in doing what Ospreys do when breeding season hits!

Dorcha is very dark and quite stunning. She reminds me of Mrs G at the Glaslyn nest.

Beautiful Iris has been on the perch and sitting in the nest today. It is a good place to get out of the wind. Gosh, she is gorgeous. Louis has, of course. been around doing what Louis does.

There always seems to be a train going through Missoula, Montana behind Iris!

Iris has a fantastic nest. In her time with Stanley she was a magnificent mother. No doubt, as I often say, she has earned the right to let Louis do his thing, lay the eggs, let the Crows get them, and then relax for the rest of the summer.

They are not friends to the Ospreys but, Northern Goshawks are incredibly beautiful medium to large-sized hawks. There are rare in my province. Those that live or breed head to the dense northern forests in the north. The adults have red eyes with a dark crown (the eye colour changes as they age). Their plumage is a gorgeous blue-grey slate colour with streaks on their pale breast and belly. They are known for grabbing chickens in farmer’s enclosures, rabbits, squirrels of all varieties, grouse, and Rock Doves. They have been known to lure Ospreys into the forest to kill them and to take their chicks- a sadddness which happened at the nest in Finland last year.

The numbers of nesting pairs has dropped considerably when there were 1000 couples to today when there are only between 400-600 pairs.

The images below are from a nest near Riga in Estonia.

This is some very interesting information about this nest and the hawk couple from Looduskalender:

“The nest of goshawks in this location in Riga has been known since 2016 – it is believed that the breeding couple moved here from another nest about 600 metres away. In the immediate vicinity of the nest there are both industrial objects, the sounds of which can often be heard, and private houses. The tree of the nest is located in a small wet area overgrown with weeds and shrubs. The nest is built in a black alder, which grows on the edge of a ditch. The goshawk has built his dwelling on the remains of a crow’s nest. The metal wires twisted in the nest still evidence that the crow was a supporter of durable building materials.

The nest was controlled during this time and the nestlings were ringed in it. This couple, and especially the female, is known among the ornithologists for their special character – she tends to behave particularly aggressively and attack people when they are just approaching the nest. On the other hand, birds are accustomed to people and equipment operating behind the fence in the nearby industrial facility and do not pay attention to them. Interestingly, at the time the female laid her first egg, very close, about 50 m from the nest, a crow couple were building their own nest. Crows are a common food item for Goshawks, but it happens that hawks do not touch other nesting birds near their nest, and they make use of this safety zone.”

This is the link to this Goshawk nest:

Mum is on the ropes at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge this morning in Australia. I wonder if Ervie will come and visit again today making it three days in a row? It is always reassuring and such joy when he visits.

Please help select the name for Annie’s new mate. He deserves a super name and Cal Falcons have narrowed the field down for you to select the finalist. (Go to the link for the names and their associations with UC-Berkeley)

This is just a quick glance at some new nests and a check in on the UFlorida triplets. Both of the eaglets, Jasper and Rocket, have now branched at the NEFlorida Bald Eagle nest. Avian flu continues to be a concern in many areas in the US and Canada.

Take care everyone. Thank you so much for joining me today.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and/or FB pages where I took my screen captures: Cal Falcons, UFlorida Ospreys, Captiva Ospreys an Window on Wildlife, Angel, Twitch, Woodland Trust, Montana Osprey Project, RMC, Narrow River Ospreys, Ferris State University, and Port Lincoln Osprey Project.