Late Saturday in Bird World

14 May 2022

I get the most fantastic mail and have the most wonderful readers – you. Today, ‘EJ’ wrote to tell me about a nest that I might enjoy. I think you will love the heart warming story of this Kestrel family in North Yorkshire. Robert E Fuller has a number of web cams set up about his property. One of those is a Kestrel nest. This year the male and female had six chicks. Sadly, as EJ explains, the female got in a tussle with an owl. She returned to the nest only once after that. As you probably know, males are not so good at feeding chicks – that is normally the role of the female. What would happen to the six chicks? Robert Fuller took the three smallest to raise by hand. He left the three larger chicks in the nest. And guess what happened? Dad learned, after a little trial and error, how to feed his chicks!

This is a fantastic video. Look at the size of the chicks an see how the one horks own the snake. Incredible. I did not think they could do that at this age. Always learning something wonderful from the nests.

Dad is going to have to hunt during the day and stay with the chicks or nearby when the owls are out at night. They are still small and need protection. Send all your positive energy towards this great family. Oh, and the three small chicks are doing well. Google Robert Fuller on YouTube if you do not already subscribe.

Thank you, EJ. This is a really, really positive story – one that we need!

The UFlorida-Gainesville Ospreys. ‘R’ sent me the dates for the three chicks today. Thank you so much! The eggs were laid on 27 Feb, 1 March, and 8 March. If I recall correctly that is the same difference between Solly and Tapps at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge in 2021. That did not end well – both chicks died of starvation and siblicide actions. Sad. According to the news article below, Big hatched on 5 April at 16:45 with Middle hatching the following morning, 6 April, at 10:00. The article was published on 8 April and they were still waiting for Little Bit to hatch.

This now makes Big 39 days old and Middle would then be 8 days old. In reality, Big is only 17 hrs and 45 minutes older than Middle. Look at them – Big is a ‘big’ female and Middle has to be a male but – we will look at them again nearer fledge. Fledging for Western Ospreys normally occurs from 7-8 weeks or 49-56 days. We will have a way to go – but it will fly by quickly!

There is a great article on the UFlorida-Gainesville nest that I just located. It has 13 images. Have a look. It is fascinating reading and many images you would not have seen!

https://www.gainesville.com/story/news/local/2022/04/08/live-webcam-captures-newborn-osprey-in-nest-at-uf/9503896002/

Around 16:20 Mum brought a fish to the nest. In the image below, Big is behind Middle. She raises her head and walks towards him. Mum will begin feeding Big.

Middle gets its head down in a protective pose.

Mum begins feeding Big.

By the time four minutes is up, Middle is on the opposite side of Mum screaming for fish.

Mum feeds Middle. I was shocked but – she has been better with feeding Middle the past couple of days. Middle is like Middle Little at the Captiva Osprey Nest ——- he is ‘very’ loud.

When the feeding was over Middle had a really nice crop!

‘R’ sent me a lot of maps and information on the places where Mum and Dad fish. I hope to get that organized for all of you for tomorrow or Monday.

This is Alden. He spent some time with the eyases this afternoon. You might recall that Alden brought in a moth and tried to feed the chicks yesterday. Today he just went in with them. They see a parent and think ‘food’. Alden did some ‘fake feeding’ but I think he is going to get the idea just like the Father Kestrel.

Cal Falcons made a 2 minute video of Alden visiting the chicks. It is funny. Alden, I love you!

There is no pip yet – that I am aware while I am writing this – at the Osprey nest of Richmond and Rosie in San Francisco Bay.

Watching birds incubate nests is like waiting for the paint to dry.

Nancy and E1 Harriet were just enjoying a nice meal as the sun begins to lower itself at the MN-DNR nest.

All of the nestlings were anxiously awaiting fish at the multitude of feedings they had today at the Manton Bay platform of Blue 33 and Maya. Gosh they are soooooo cute. The baby is at the far end.

Chase and Cholyn have made sure that Two Harbours 1 (TH1) was full to the brim today. Wow. That almost looks painful.

There is news from Denton Homes today. You will recall that the three nestling Bald Eagles died very quickly from Avian Flu. Dad later died of Avian Flu also. Surprisingly Mum who consumed the infected chicks survived. Today, Mum was seen with a new potential male mate. I did not catch it – but, life goes on. Well done, Mum.

Five full sleepy falcons at the Manchester, NH Peregrine Falcon scrape. Gosh, these parents must be awfully busy — and so much for being able to see the chicks if they are at the other end of the box. Looks like the wee ones have been decorating the mirrors! All five are well fed. No worries.

Falcons can be very loud but, I don’t think quite so loud as ospreys. The four in the nest in the Polish forest had a great feed yesterday. Have a look at what it is like to feed four bigger falcons. Wow.

My apologies to everyone at Utica Peregrine Falcons. I think that I posted the wrong image for Astrid and Ares’s scrape with their two chicks.

The site of the camera links also as a great blog about all the daily activities with the chicks and their parents. Here is the link to the several cameras that cover this nest in Utica, New York:

That is a very quick check a few of the nests we have been watching. It has been a busy day – cloudy, grey skies, rain, then cloudy. It was bird count day and it has been busy in the garden. I am shocked at how many oranges and jars of grape jelly Baltimore Orioles can eat! Of course, they are so cute.

He seems not to have been able to decide how best to get at that orange slice.

It was all a lot of fun.

Thank you for being with us today. Take care. See you soon!

Thanks to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: UFlorida-Gainesville Ospreys, MN-DNR, LRWT Manton Bay, SF Bay Ospreys and Golden Gate Audubon, Friends of Utica Falcons, Dolina Baryczy Falcons, Cal Falcons, Denton Homes Eagles, Robert Fuller, Peregrine Networks, and Explore.org.

Friday Morning in Bird World

13 May 2022

Good Morning Everyone! I hope that your Friday is a very good one.

Have you seen this old film titled Osprey?

In the Q & A discussion at Cal Falcons, one big difference between Grinnell and Alden that has been noticed is that Alden hunts at night. He also seems to be hunting in exotic places bringing in various prey items. Last evening the kids and Annie had a bed time snack at 22:00.

Alden on the left and Annie, who has just taken prey item, on the right. Look at those two smiling eyases! How grand. Both ate extremely well, the little one falling into a food coma first.

All are wide awake first thing in the morning and ready for fish at the Manton Bay Osprey nest at Rutland. Blue 33 (11) has been flying in with more and more fish during the day. The three are doing very well with the flapping perch incident well behind them! A great way to start a Friday.

At 11:50 Blue 33 took a turn feeding his chicks as Maya looked on.

More food around 14:00. Maya is pretty much feeding the chicks every two hours. The trio will grow fast!

The streaming cam to the nest of the Lesser Spotted Eagles, Anna and Andris in the Spruce Tree in a forest area at Lemgate, Latvia is back on line. The couple are incubating one egg which is set to hatch in June.

Both eaglets are still on the nest at Dale Hollow. They are 75 days old today if you count hatch day (28 Feb). Gorgeous birds who are now filling in almost the entire nest. They are definitely within fledge range which is normally 10-12 weeks for Bald Eagles.

The eaglet at the Duke Farms Bald Eagle nest is four days older than the pair at Dale Hollow.

Middle Little was on the platform at the Captiva Osprey nest this morning early calling for dad, Andy, to bring in a fish. All four of the family can be seen flying around the area and since Middle Little and Little MiniO are the only fledglings, Lori has been able to take images from her kayak and is certain it is them screaming for the parents to bring fish. Lori is returning to Canada today. If you have enjoyed watching the Ospreys and all her help finding them to reassure us all are alright, why not go to the chat today and just give her a little thank you. It has been a great year at the Captiva Osprey platform – a first in a long time to have osplets fledge! Thanks, Lori.

At 07:25:29, Dad delivered a fish to the UFlorida-Gainesville Osprey nest. Middle started cheeping right away and managed to get into position quickly, on the opposite side of Mum, to get some nice fish. That is a great way to start the day at this nest. It is 22 degrees C, winds were at 6 kmh at the time of the delivery with the pressure rising. The weather forecast is for a thunderstorm later today.

Nice to see that fish this morning before the weather turns bad.

Big did not seem threatening but Middle still got around the back of Mum and over to the opposite side calling loudly for food. Good for you, Middle.

Mum did give Big the first couple of bites before Middle got up front but then she fed both. I hope Middle is getting his confidence back!

Oh, this camera can be annoying. That is Middle with its wings spread. Growing. Getting to the point that Big really cannot do too much damage other than throwing Middle off the nest — which I hope is not going to happen. The thunderstorm is forecast to begin around 16:00 nest time.

Nancy and E1 – Harriet – were rearranging straw on the nest this morning. There continues to be a sub-adult around the nest. Both Nancy and E1 continue to do as well as expected as a nest with a single parent. Look at Harriet help her Mum!

Cholyn fed TH1 at 05:33 from the fish that was left overnight.

Just look at that beautiful golden glow over the nest shining on the face of our beautiful Mum. It won’t be long til Dr Sharpe climbs up the cliff to band the eaglet. I will see if I can find out when that is going to be for everyone. If you know already, let me know!

They have fledged but both Jasper and Rocket are still hanging around the nest tree getting food from Samson and Gabby. Gabby normally migrates north when it gets hot while Samson stays in the Jacksonville area. Last year he kept feeding Legacy for some time. It is so nice to see the birds on the nest. Look close. One of the eaglets is on a branch almost at the left bottom corner.

The two eaglets on the Decorah North nest of Mr North and Mrs DNF are well and doing just fine. Bad weather has been going through the area with a Derecho or Inland Hurricane with winds of 100 mph going through South Dakota and area yesterday. Fingers crossed for all that were in its wake.

Big Red and her gang of four eyases are doing just fine this morning, too. The chicks are relaxing after having breakfast and Big Red has been on the nest doing some allopreening.

Big Red is so beautiful.

This has been a great way to start a Friday morning. All of the nests appear to be doing well. In Canada we traditionally plant the annual flowers on the May long weekend which is connected with Queen Victoria’s birthday. That is next weekend. Everyone will be at the greenhouses stocking up on flowers and vegetables and mixed in there will be me today. Take care everyone. Thank you so much for joining me today!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Latvian Fund for Nature, LRWT, Cal Falcons, Captiva Ospreys and Window for Wildlife, Dale Hollow Eagle Cam, Duke Farms, UFlorida-Gainesville Ospreys, MN-DNR, Explore.org, NEFlorida-AEF, and Cornell Bird Lab RTH.

Late Friday and early Saturday in Bird World

6-7 May 2022

The Cal Falcons hatch day was a complete success. One eyas arrived on Thursday and the second hatched during the festivities. You could tell at the beginning of the Cal Falcons Q & A today that both Sean and Lynn were overjoyed. Here are some images from today and at the bottom of them I will put the link to the archived session from today if you missed it.

One of the most remarkable moments for me today was when Annie and Alden were ritually bonding in the scrape with chick 1 chiming in. Adorable.

Feeding and eating take some practice.

Alden checks on the newly hatched chick while Annie goes to get some food and has a break.

They know to hold that pink beak up high and to open wide from the minute they hatch.

Sean and Lynn believe – based on the coloration of the eggs – that the oldest chick was egg 1 and that chick 2 was actually the third egg. They noted that the third egg was darker than the other two. Historically, Annie has never had all of the eggs hatch. If the egg that remains is to hatch it will be by tomorrow afternoon. It is not clear if the second chick is Grinnell’s or Alden’s. They hope to test the feathers to determine paternity and they are looking for someone within the University of California system who would be interested in helping.

Newly hatched falcons can live on the nutrients from the yolk of the egg for approximately 24 hours. This means that they do not need to be fed until then. However, they can eat as soon as 4 hours after hatching according to Sean.

Saturday morning 0611.

It is hard to imagine but these wee babes will have adult size legs when they are 24-26 days old. That is when they will be banded. Falcons fledge from 38-42 days old. This is very quick and is one way that they are very different from the eagles and the ospreys. Their time in the scrape is short. They will spend approximately a month with the parents after fledging learning to fly better and to hunt.

Names? After the banding name suggestions will be taken with a final vote. One of the leading names is Grinnell. I totally agree.

Here is the link to the Q & A session from today.

The banding at the MN-DNR nest is completed. There were no surprises. E1 is a very big robust female weighing in around 9 lbs. Incredible. Sadly, those big females appear to be the ones that cause siblicide more than the males if food appears to be getting short on the nest. Solly at the Port Lincoln Osprey nest in 2021 and E1 this year on the MN-DNR nest. (Confirmed females by testing and/or measurements). Nancy circled around the nest and returned fairly quickly to E1. E1 will be a formidable female just like her Mum.

Iris laid her second egg of the 2022 at 15:14:36 Friday afternoon at her Hellgate Canyon nest. Iris appeared to go into labour a few minutes earlier with the feathers on her back rising and falling.

Maya at the Rutland Water Manton Bay nest in the UK is not giving away any hints – not a single one. Here are the eggs at 20:12. She is very restless during the wee hours of Saturday morning. Do we have a pip on any of those eggs?

Saturday and no obvious pip that I can see on Maya’s eggs, yet.

A beautiful image of Chase and Cholyn’s only hatch for 2022. Just gorgeous. One month old.

Quite a change from the beautiful blue waters of the Channel Islands and the bright sun to the dreary rain of the Dulles-Greenway nest of Martin and Rosa and DG1. They were soggy yesterday, too.

Gosh, Middle Little at the Captiva Osprey nest has such strong long legs. He watches and waits for Andy to come in with a fish for him. Stunning fledgling. Just stunning.

Lori Covert, the owner of the property with the Captiva Osprey and Bald Eagle nests on them went out in her kayak and posted an image of the tree where Little MiniO likes to perch.

It is wonderful to have the two around getting stronger with their flying, figuring out the world, and perfecting their fishing skills.

The two eaglets at the Dale Hollow Lake will make you very nervous as they stand on the rim of the nest and flap their beautiful big wings. They are 69 days old! The date of fledging depends on many factors but 11-13 weeks is good. These two are approaching that early window.

Are you a fan of the eaglet at Duke Farms? Look at the air under those wings Saturday morning early! It will not be long.

Family photo of Arthur brooding, Big Red on the railing and those gorgeous Ls at the Cornell Campus RTH nest. Big Red, like all other raptor females, is very cautious and keeps the chicks close to her after hatch. Now Arthur is getting some great ‘Daddy’ time as the Ls get older. Cute. I don’t know who is cuter – Arthur or the chicks

The engineers who took care of the White Stork Bukacka and his storklings last year have put together a short video clip about the life of Bukacka and his mate, Betynky. It is sweet.

The livestream at the UFlorida-Gainesville Osprey nest is offline Saturday morning. I will be checking in with them, more of the European nests and, of course, with the CalFalcons later today. In the meantime, enjoy your Saturday. Ferris Akel will be having his tour around noon Ithaca time. Google Ferris Akel Tour on YouTube if you are interested.

Take care everyone. Thank you so much for joining me as we wait…pip watch is going to happen at several nests this week including Rosie and Richmond. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and/or FB pages where I took my screen captures: Cal Falcons, MN-DNR, Montana Osprey Project, LRWT, Explore.Org, Dulles-Greenway Eagles, Captiva Osprey Nest and Lori Covert, DHEC, Duke Farms, and Cornell Bird Lab and RTH.

Friday Morning in Bird World

6 May 2022

The five peregrine falcon eyases at the Manchester, New Hampshire scrape have been fed four times before 0930. Meal times were 0531, 0627, 0712, 0917. Mum doesn’t get finished quick. She will wait til there are no beaks open wanting food. Just look at the youngest right up there!

There are five eyases in the scrape at the Walburga Tower in Oudenaarde, Belgium, too.

Here is the link to the camera in Belgium:

There is still one eyas at the scrape box on The Campanile on the grounds of UCalifornia-Berkeley. The wee one hatched on 5 May. There are two more eggs. One appeared to have some cracking of the egg but that could have been light or debris.

Bingo!

A really nice fish arrived for the two soggy eaglets at the Dale Hollow Nest at 0813.

It is not clear to me which of the eaglets claimed the fish. Note: the cam is flickering (or was) in and out of IR mode).

There was some headway made on the self-feeding and later both decided to sit it out on the rim of the nest.

Lessons are still being taught at the WRDC Bald Eagle nest in the Miami Zoo. Rita arrived with a nice fish at 0926.

She waited eating morsels. It was not until 1024 that a fledgling arrived on the nest.

Mum left them empty taloned. Wonder what lesson she was giving out today????

Both R1 and R2 seem to be hanging around the nest. Hi there.

The three eyases at the Weissenburg scrape in Bayern are really growing. Look at the change in their plumage. The soft dow gives way to a rather matty looking cotton that reveals feathers!!!!!! Pink beaks begin to change colour.

Louis is an amazing partner. I adored him with Alia and so sorry she did not return last year. He has settled in with Dorcha and despite the pelting rain in Scotland landed a nice fish for her. Well done, Louis.

Dorcha is so dark. She reminds me of Mrs G at the Glaslyn nest.

We might be checking in on the Osprey nests scattered about the UK but all eyes are on one nest – that nest belongs to Blue 33 (11) and Maya at Manton Bay. They should be having a pip and a hatch today or tomorrow.

Maya is not giving anything away! Gosh she is beautiful.

If you are looking for a solid Osprey nest to watch, one that fledges all their hatches then this is the nest to watch. Here is the link to the streaming cam.

It is raining a lot of places in the US and much of that rain is really welcome especially up in the Pacific Northwest. You will notice that I do not list any of the Osprey nests in that region. The ones I know have suffered from the extreme heat.

It is also raining on Long Island at the PSEG Oyster Bay Osprey platform. Did you know that there are over 2000 Osprey nests on Long Island? Most are located on the eastern end. PSEG has two platforms. The one at Oyster Bay in Nassau County and the other at Patchogue. The Ospreys return each year with the arrival of the Menhaden. It is a species of fish in the herring family. They travel south in the fall and winter and north in the spring in slow moving tight schools. Sadly they have been over fished.

Brevoortia patronus Goode, 1878 – Gulf Menhaden” by Crabby Taxonomist is marked with CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

There are two falcons and two eggs at the Indiana and Michigan Power Company scrape. You can help them name the chicks. Information below.

Here is the link to this camera.

The Boys & Girls Club of Fort Wayne, Indiana provided a list of ten names for a Survey Monkey. You can vote here once before May 16.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LN776TF

We are waiting for hatch at the new scrape box mounted on the top of the Spartan Stadium at the University of Michigan. It is raining there today, too.

Dad has come to relieve Mum but she isn’t budging. Will we have a hatch today? Maybe. Here is the link to this new streaming cam and scrape.

These falcons made the news!

Some images from this morning at the nest of Big Red and Arthur on the grounds of Cornell University in Ithaca.

Nancy has fed E1 and a cherry picker has gone up to the nest. It is banding day!

E1 properly defended the nest he shares with Mum. Sadly, Dad Harry has not returned to the nest. He disappeared on the evening of 26 April. Once Nancy realized what was happening, she started bringing food to the nest. As we know, it was too late for E2.

Despite early worries by some watchers when there were four eggs, Big Red has shown that this is not a problem. Indeed while it might be one extra to her norm, you can see by some of the peregrine falcon nests that it is possible for five to do well. Life is so different on the hawk and falcon nests than it is for the eagles and the ospreys.

It is going to be a gorgeous 21 degree C day in Manitoba. It is a good day to get outside – before the next rains come – and go and see some of the new arrivals in the City while I wait for the second hatch at Cal Falcons and for their Q & A at 5pm Pacific Time.

The Dark-eyed Juncos that arrived in mass during the horrible storm a few weeks ago seem to have departed. The numbers of birds at the feeders are returning to the norm. Even Mr Blue Jay dropped by this morning.

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cam where I took my screen captures: Cal Falcons, WRDC, Woodland Trust and People’s Post Code Lottery, LRWT, Cornell Bird Lab RTH, Spartan Stadium Falcon Cam, I & M Falcon Cam, PSEG Oyster Bay, Weissenburg Falcons, DHEC, Oudenaarde Falcons, MN-DNR, and Peregrine Falcon Networks.

Late Friday and early Saturday in Bird World

22-23 April 2022

Friday was drawing to a close. Big Red had been restless all of Thursday and it was a wonderful relief when L1 hatched and was deemed ‘perfect’ after a worry over some blood coming from the egg earlier. Tonight (Friday late) Big Red is trying as best she can to get some sleep while L2 is hatching. The cracking is such that we now have gone beyond a mere pip.

If all four of the eggs hatch, Big Red s going to need to grab those naps as much as she can.

Big Red is not giving away any hints Saturday morning. But you can see the more than pip in the back right egg and a pip in the back left egg. L1 is doing fine. Being an Only Child – even for a short time – has its advantages.

Arthur brought in another starling in the morning. There are now 2 Starlings (one partially eaten), 1 grey bird, and a partially eaten snake in the nest.

Dawn is just breaking in the Tucholskie Forest in Poland. You can hear the songbirds singing as the sun rises through the pine trees. This just reminds me of a fairy tale forest. White-tail Eagles are so beautiful with their lighter heads and darker bodies – all seemingly touched with a bit of silver.

Mum left to take a wee break. Both of the eaglets are still alive and appear to be doing well.

Mum returns to brood the chicks in the soft morning light.

Do you know the Anacapa Peregrine Falcon Nest? This couple have been together since 2013 raising chicks on the cliff face on the remote Anacapa Island in California. They are known as Mr and Mrs A.

Anacapa is part of the Channel Islands where we have a couple of familiar Bald Eagle Nests, Two Harbours (Chase & Cholyn) and West End (Akecheta and Thunder).

Two chicks have hatched this year. Just look like white fluffy little teddy bears with big pink beaks and pink toes and feet. So cute. They are 3 days old. It is hoped that the third egg is non-viable. It is typical for not all of the falcon eggs to hatch. These chicks are big and strong and that chick would be behind.

Here is a feeding from yesterday.

This is a feeding from today.

This is the link to the streaming cam for all you falcon lovers!

https://explore.org/livecams/falcons/peregrine-falcon-anacapa

I want to check on the status of the Black Stork nest that was the home of Grafs and Grafiene last year. The very late arrival of the female last year caused issues at the nest. The male returned earlier in April this year. Many on the Forum are wondering if it was Grafs or another male. The male worked away bring twigs and moss to prepare such a nice nest. Now it is the 22nd of April and there is no female yet. The male sings and looks around. Fingers crossed for a quick arrival of a female to this gorgeous nest in Sigulda County. Come on Grafiene!!!!!

Here is the link to the nest:

Karl II is working very hard on the nest he shares with Kaia. He is very handsome!

Karl II and Kaia have had a male intruder land on the nest. Kaia helped magnificently in defending the nest. Unlike other species, the males and females will defend the nest against opposite genders. There are apparently a lot of single male floaters due to a lack of female storks. They are causing problems with established nests. We are waiting for an egg at this nest!

Here are the couple defending their nest.

Mum and Dad returned to Glacier Gardens yesterday! Looking forward to another great year up in Alaska. Kindness was the sweetest little eaglet. It was a great name and touched the heart of so many. It is so nice to see Mum and Dad.

There are now three eggs at the Llyn Clywedog nest of Dyland and Seren Blue 5F. Dylan is a great fisher but he also loves to incubate and he wasn’t wanting to give up that spot Saturday afternoon!

Mrs G and Aran have two eggs now.

Cheers are happening in Poole Harbour because CJ7 and Blue022 have their first egg. There will be more. The first hatch will be historic – the first Osprey in Poole Harbour in over 200 years!!!!!!!!! Incredible. The community worked hard to relocate Ospreys to the area and it looks like they will have success this year.

This is such wonderful news for this couple that began bonding last breeding season.

The very first osprey of the 2022 season has hatched in the Diaccia Botrona Nature Reserve in Maremma in Tuscany, Italy yesterday.

The situation at the Florida-Gainesville Osprey nest is not improving. I captured a couple of images of Little Bit taking a few bites of a fish on the nest before Middle went after him. You have to look carefully. Its tiny head is in the very centre of the nest under the tail of that fish.

The minute the older sibling notices Little Bit move it attacks despite it having a full crop.

The two large siblings prevented Little Bit from getting any food even though they were clearly full.

Feeding and any movement by Little Bit triggers their aggressive behaviour. The ability of both Big and Middle to dominate the food coming into the nest is directly seen in the growth progression of the three nestlings. I often smile when I see people in chat rooms saying not to call the dominant birds bullies but in his 1979 article “Sibling Aggression among Nestling Ospreys in Florida Bay” in The Auk (vol. 96, no 2, 415-17) Alan Poole says just that in discussing the difference in size of the nestlings “however, 3 days after the first sibling bullying was seen, nestling A was 165 heavier than B…” (416). The older two are simply that – bullies. What I did find interesting about Poole’s study was that he did not find the same level of aggression in the Ospreys in the Chesapeake Bay area. Some of you will have observed, as I have, sibling competition and aggression at several Florida Osprey nests such as Achieva Credit Union (2021), Captiva (2022), Pink Pearl (2022), and Gainesville currently. You might well know of others in the last couple of years.

Little Bit mustered the courage to get to the beak but there was no fish left.

In the image below you can see the size difference between Big, Middle, and Little Bit. The older ones will continue to have the advantage unless this chick gets fed – it had a few bites yesterday and some fish later on the 21st. Tiny Tot lasted for 72 hours before getting some fish at Achieva in 2021. Indeed, that chick had – in a month – the equivalent of 12 full days without food. She went on to become dominant. It remains unclear to me if Little Bit will survive the weekend, sadly.

Little or MiniO fledged yesterday morning early (the 22nd) and has not returned to the nest. It is unclear to me whether she is in a tree or is grounded. Middle (or Little) is in the nest with Lena fish calling to Andy.

I never like to close with sad news but I have just heard that two of the eaglets at the Denton Homes nest have died. It is suspected that it is Avian Flu. We will see if the third survives but it is doubtful. The Dad is there and is very confused. The surviving chick is in the nest with the two deceased ones. — It was thought that Avian Flu was mostly staying on the East coast. This is a move into the heartland being triggered by migrating birds? There will be concern for other nests in the region. Please send them your warmest and most positive energy.

We have had rain since the wee hours of the morning on Friday. It has filled several of the low areas of the garden with water. The worry is that they are reporting a drop in temperature that would freeze the ground surface causing the rain not to soak in (the ground is already saturated) and create wide scale flooding. We worry about the animals. All of the squirrels, Hedwig, Mr and Mrs Woodpecker along with a myriad of Juncos, Sparrows, Grackles and Starlings have been trying to eat. It is difficult to convince Hedwig that we have special food for him on a plate that is relatively dry!!!!!!

Thank you for joining me. I hope to have some happy news on Big Red and Arthur’s L2 later this evening. Take care all. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cam where I took my screen captures: UFlorida-Gainesville Ospreys, Brywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn, Poole Harbour Ospreys, Captiva Ospreys and Window for Wildlife, Cornell Bird Lab RTH, Biehki Online Bory Tucholskie, Estonian Eagle Club, Diaccia Botrona Nature Reserve, CarnyxWild, Explore.Org, and the Latvian Fund for Nature.

Early Friday in Bird World

22 April 2022

The beginning of what sounds like deplorable weather has arrived in parts of Manitoba for the third weekend in a row. The American White Pelicans have returned, the Golden Crowned Kinglets are here, the Garter snakes are waking from their winter hibernation, and the weather is supposed to be problematic. We currently have rain which is supposed to turn to snow and ice on Sunday. Apparently the amount of rain is an issue with creeks and rivers full and the ground saturated. They are saying 50mm or 1.9 inches. We wait. We are prepared for just about anything. There are birds eating away in the garden and going into the wood boxes to get dry. The Juncos, the Sparrows, the Grackles, and the Blue Jay have visited so far. It has been a lonnnnnngggggg winter on the Canadian Prairies for all of us.

There is so much happening and a problem nest to check on. It is fantastic but I need 3 or 4 of me to keep up!

Breaking News: Little (or MiniO) the female nesting took flight this morning at 06:46:54. She has yet to return to the nest.

Very nice. It is thought that Little (Mini) has done some flybys and that she has been heard. She is fine. She will get back up to the nest or the parents will deliver some fish to her off camera. For me – I want her to return to the nest box so we can see her flying again!

Big Red and Arthur would be thrilled if their nest was in Southern Manitoba (if the weather were nice) because all of our Garter Snakes are coming out of hibernation (mentioned above). L1 hatched at 21:46 last evening and the first meal that Big Red her fuzzy little chick this morning was snake!

Oh, such a cute little eyas. Look carefully. Red-hawk nestlings have pink legs, black talons, black beaks with a yellow cere and are white. When the Peregrine Falcons hatch they will have pink legs, feet, and beak.

But what a gorgeous image. Big Red looking so lovingly into L1’s eyes. “Hi, Mama”.

Oh, this little one is so strong and healthy. What a cutie pie. Poor Big Red, the years have certainly taken a toll on her feet. They are really showing their age.

There is a second egg that is pipping. It is the one in the very front with the dark splotch. Soon there will be two!

Red-tail Hawk FACT: Digestion: A hawk’s digestive system is much different from ours. In addition to the Crop, their “stomach” is actually divided into two parts. The proventriculus (glandular stomach) is the next stop after the crop. The proventriculous is where food is mixed with digestive enzymes before it passes to the gizzard or ventriculus – a strong muscle pouch that contracts to crush and mix the food (RTH Chat moderator).

How old do Red-tail Hawks live? “The oldest known wild Red-tailed Hawk was at least 30 years, 8 months old when it was found in Michigan in 2011, the same state where it had been banded in 1981.” – (Hibbie, RTH chat from AAB site). The US Govt says the oldest banded hawk was 29 years and 8 months. Sadly, many of the bands were taken from birds that had been shot. They could have lived longer if the shooting of raptors was halted!

Cornell made a short video of the first snake feeding:

Some more snake was fed around 11:00.

How often is prey delivered to a RTH nest? Generally, prey is delivered to nestlings ten to 15 times a day, starting just before sunrise and ending just after sunset.  How often food is delivered, as well as how big the prey is, varies among individual hawks and is affected by the number of young, as well as prey availability. In one study in Canada, researchers estimated that an average of between 14.4 oz, (nearly a pound) and 1.6 pounds)of food per day were brought to broods of 1 and 3 nestlings, respectively. That’s 410 grams a day and 730 grams a day. (Cornell RTH moderator, Deron). This does not include the parents’ food!
Summarization of 11 studies showed that RTH diet was made up of 68% mammal, 17.5%other birds, 7% reptiles and amphibians (mostly snakes), and 3.2% invertebrates. 

Last bit of information. Researchers have learned so much by watching streaming cams which often changes the information found in older texts that used observation of nests only. Do raptors assist their chicks in hatch? Until yesterday, I have noticed Akecheta helping this year at the West End nest. It surely happens more often! And, yes, Big Red assisted L1 by rolling the egg gently so that super hard shell (no lingering DDT issues here) to help break it up.

The Cornell RTH chat which is open M-W-F from 12-2 and T-Th from 10-12 Ithaca NY time. It is a great way to learn about the hawks. Go to the link below and click on chat (scroll down as it will be under the image of E3):

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/cams/red-tailed-hawks/

The oldest of the siblings at the UFlorida-Gainesville Osprey nest woke up on the wrong side of the bed again this morning. He pecked at both Middle and Little. The breakfast fish came in around 9ish. Little Bit got a few bites. This nest needs another fish soon.

In the first image you can see the size difference of the three osplets easily. Big is at least 4x the size of Little Bit now with all the food it has been getting. At least 4x, possibly 5x.

Big goes after Middle. Little is staying out of the way.

Big will eat for a good 20 minutes before Little Bit gets the courage to go up and get a few bites – and yes, it was only a few. The fish was gone at 09:30.

As Mum was cleaning her beak, Little and Middle were up hoping that there was some more fish. You can hear them fish crying. Meanwhile Big is full past the brim and sleeping.

For those watching this nest, please be cautious. Middle attacked Little bit ferociously when the Mum moved. There was nape pulling and at a point I thought he was plucking. Little Bit might not make it if it continues to be kept from food and –well, it is the attacks.

Mum left the nest and returned around 12:17. Little Bit is looking up at her wanting food.

This once lovely nest has turned. Bonk and get bonked. What Big does to Middle, Middle then does to Little Bit. How sad! Send positive wishes to this nest. We need lots of fish brought in to turn this behaviour around and even then, it might not work but we hope.

It is 13:27 nest time and Little Bit is constantly prey calling. Oh, I wish this nest would turn around for the good. I wondered this morning if this stage of plumage development makes the nestlings more anxious and cranky. They are constantly preening those itchy feathers. That along with being hot and dehydrated and little fish…???????

Aran and Mrs G are celebrating the arrival of their second egg today. Yipppeeee. Let us all hope the weather and the intruders cooperate so these two have healthy hatches and they all fledge this year.

Everyone is busy laying eggs. Idris and Telyn now have three eggs in their Dyfi Nest as of 17:07.

Buckachek and Betynka at the Mlade Buky White Stork nest have their second egg as well.

I went to check on the two eaglets at the Dale Hollow nest. Because you can only go so far back on rewind it is difficult to state with some precision what the two have had to eat but they have had some fish that was brought in and there could be more. The amount that each got is unknown. They are both doing well and it is beautiful and green in the forest around the nest.

This has been a very long blog! There are so many nests with so much happening. Will try and do a nest hop later this evening for everyone who is missing out on hearing about their favourite nests. Yes, we do have our favourites. We will also be looking for another hatch for Big Red and Arthur.

Thank you so much for joining me. I hope that the weather is grand where you are. Get out and go for a walk and take me along. If you are waiting for the UCal Falcon Q & A, that is currently about 45 minutes away. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams: Dyfi Osprey Project, Brwyd Gwyllt Glaslyn, DHEC, UFlorida-Gainesville Ospreys, Cornell RTH Cam, Capri Mlade Buky, and Captiva Ospreys and Window for Wildlife.

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.

For the love of Ospreys

14 April 2022

The first time I watched an Osprey nest I swore I would never watch another one. Here I am years later. My book shelves are full of information on Ospreys, I dream about Ospreys, I do research on third hatches. My mind is filled with ‘Osprey’. These birds can take you to the lowest depths and send you to the highest heights of joy. Together many of us cheered on Ervie – the third hatch at Port Lincoln, Australia in 2021 – who was clever and survived winning our hearts and the sat-pak over Bazza and Falky. Since then he has had at least one talon pulled out – it is growing ever so slowly. As a result, Ervie has stayed around Port Lincoln. Ervie has entertained us by returning to the nest barge over and over with his puffers. It is the best! We get to enjoy him longer.

The camera at the Achieva Osprey Cam in St Petersburg, Florida is now on line. It looks terrific. While the camera was out of order, Diane laid three more eggs – a second clutch. The first fell in a hole in the nest (or so it was believed). Normally, the eggs would be hatching at the end of February or beginning of March. The hot Florida weather may pose a problem. I found it very endearing when I discovered, this morning, that David Hancock is adding a shade canopy to all of the Bald Eagle nests he is building in British Columbia. That is something that may become very necessary at the Florida nests!

Jack and Diane fledged three last year. It was not an easy nest to watch as Tiny Tot Tumbles struggled. More than three times we thought TTT would die but she was clever and persistent. She learned to eat old dried fish and she lived to become the most dominant – and beautiful. In the end, Diane went and caught cat fish to supplement what Jack brought to the nest. This is what turned the corner for Tiny Tot.

After fledging, Tiny Tot remained at the nest for some time. She even defended it against adult intruders on her own and with Jack. Oh, how I wish she was banded!

But, I will warn you. With the late hatch and the heat, there is no telling what will happen at this nest.

I have no idea how the three will be doing in a week at the U of Florida Gainesville nest. It is hot! The chicks are enjoying the shade under Mum.

These are also three of the most active little ones I have ever seen!!!!!!

At least two are up out of the egg cup. If Little Bit isn’t yet, he will be out of there soon clamouring around on the Spanish Moss.

Lena and Andy were one month ahead of the normal egg laying time in Florida. Their two osplets are just about ready to fledge. They are beginning to get a little air under their wings and it won’t be long til they are hovering about. Andy and Lena did a great job this year.

By laying the eggs a month early at Captiva, Andy and Lena might have saved their chicks from the Crows and other predators that predated their nest for two years.

The two are yelling at Andy to get the breakfast fish on the nest pronto! Lena can sit back and let them take care of it – if she chooses. They can be pretty loud.

You can still watch this nest and enjoy seeing these two beautiful birds fledge! Here is the link:

Idris has brought a large Mullet onto the Dfyi nest in Wales today but Telyn wants more fish and she is really telling him!

I am not sure what is happening in Loch Arkaig. Louis and Dorcha seem to be playing musical nests. Yesterday it felt certain that Louis and his new mate of last year would go back to the old nest but, today, Dorcha has been on the one that they used as a couple last year. It doesn’t matter for watchers – cam 1 or in this case, cam 2 – we can see them at either one!

Mrs G and Aran on the Glaslyn nest – now that everything is sorted and the females are where they should be – everyone can settle. Aran brought in five fish so far today – 3 yellow-bellied trout, 1 sea trout, and 1 flounder. He is an incredible fisher.

Mrs G, the oldest UK Osprey.

Aran! And he is very handsome.

While we wait for Mrs G to lay her first egg, Blue NC0 at the Loch of the Lowes nest laid her first a day ago and we will be watching for egg 2 shortly.

Seren and Dylan have their first egg yesterday at the Llyn Clywedog Nest in Cumbria.

One of my favourite nests is the Foulshaw Moss nest of White YW and Blue 35 in Cumbria. This nest fledged three last year. It was the home of a third osplet that no one thought would survive – the others were monstrous when the third hatched. It was to the keen parenting and the tenaciousness of Tiny Little Bob. She fledged as Blue 463 and she was queen of this nest! It was incredible to watch her figure out how to get around the big ones.

They are not on YouTube and there is no rewind on the two cameras. You can access them here:

https://www.cumbriawildlifetrust.org.uk/wildlife/cams/osprey-cam

That is a very quick run through some of the nests. I wanted you to know about Achieva in case it was a nest that you watch. Take care everyone. Thank you for joining me today!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: UFlorida Ospreys at Gainesville, Captiva Osprey and Window on Wildlife, Achieva Credit Union, Woodland Trust and Friends of Loch Arkaig, Dyfi Ospreys, Brywd Gwyllt Glaslyn, Cumbrian Wildlife Trust, and CarnyxWild.

Thursday Morning in Bird World

14 April 2022

Dyson sends his love to everyone and he wants you to know that he is doing what he does best – getting seeds off the hard seed cylinders!

Thank you so much for your kind notes. The snow storm did precisely what had been predicted. There was a lull yesterday in the late afternoon and then the snow began with earnest around midnight. The forecast is now at the higher end of the snow accumulation at 80 cm or 2.62 feet. We continue to clear periodically and put down a line of seed that extends across 9 metres or 30 feet of decking and keep the feeders full and check on the hard seed cylinders as they need replacing. It has been a challenge. The sheer number of birds in the garden speaks to the recent arrival of thousands of birds during spring migration. Rain is set to start shortly turning to snow in the afternoon. Could it get worse for our feathered friends? The winds continue to bring some white out conditions. Hopefully the storm will taper off, as predicted, late Friday. Sadly, it brings out the worst in the birds who are hungry and fearful that they will starve to death. It is not unlike the beaking in the streaming cam nests when a weather event or diminished prey delivery sets off the ‘survival’ instinct in the biggest bird. Difficult to watch.

When you think you have absolutely ‘had it’ – you ‘are done’ with the birds and their beaking and bonking, stop and watch this piece of archival film that Charles Puleston shot in one of his Osprey nests on Long Island in the 1950s. It is called ‘My Turn’.

I can promise you that there is nothing more joyful, more tearful, and more satisfying than having a third hatch almost die in front of your eyes and then to have them turn around and become the most clever and dominant bird on the nest! It happens! Those are the nests you never forget.

A few of you have written to me in the last week about your need to pull back from the streaming cams and the chats that go along with some of the nests. The last note came this morning from a reader and I thought it would be a good time to discuss this. Watching the streaming cams can often bring about a sense of utter helplessness and frustration instead of the joy you anticipated. Instead of shutting the birds out of your life, I would like to make a couple of recommendations. The first is to educate yourself about the species you are watching. You do not have to purchase the books, go to your local library and if they do not have a copy see if they can order one in for you to borrow. The second is to arm yourself with emergency call numbers. Last year when a fostered Osprey chick fell off the nest at Patuxent River’s nests, the nature centre was closed. No one was answering the phone. People watched in horror hearing the chick splashing in the water. A number of us began to call leaving messages. One of the staff heard these and took their canoe back out to the park and found the chick – just in time – and literally tossed it back on the nest. This was a perfect outcome. That said frantic phone calls came from Hawaii, Canada, and the US to anyone who would listen. Every streaming cam needs the number of the local wildlife rehabber. Sadly, they do not post them. So it is up to you to find those numbers and have them ready if something happens. You also need to understand that most times help does not come. That is why Patuxent was simply so fantastic.

OK. Back to educating yourself. If you want to understand how the use of DDT caused the large Apex predators such as Eagles and Osprey to become almost extinct, get a copy of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. Here is an article that speaks to the importance of this book.

Find out who Dennis Puleston was to the environmental movement and how he signalled the decline in Ospreys. Who was Charles Broley to the Bald Eagle community? These are people who fought the good fight to protect and restore the populations of Ospreys and Bald Eagles. You should know who they are. For a specific UK approach, any of the books by Mark Avery who headed the RSBP for 25 years are excellent.

The current threat is often from climate change and for eagles it is heat. Many eagles went into care last summer as did Ospreys particularly in the Pacific Northwest. One of the newest additions that David Hancock (Hancock Wildlife) is adding to the artificial nests for the Eagles in British Columbia, Canada is a shade screen. Ground breaking. How fantastic! Indeed, you might have noted the artificial nest in the Miami Zoo for the WRDC nest. These human-made nests will become more common as trees fail just as artificial platforms are now common for Ospreys.

How many times have you seen individuals belittled and having to apologize for putting human emotions on birds? This especially happens in some chats. I suggest that you read Marc Bekoff, The Emotional Lives of Animals. Good solid research. You won’t apologize again! Jennifer Akerman’s The Genius of Birds and The Bird Way are also very good.

My library is mostly full of books on Ospreys and the smaller raptors, Peregrine Falcons and Red-tail Hawks.

Falcons: The Peregrine by J.A. Baker, Falcon by Helen Macdonald, and H is for Hawk are some good starters. Winter’s Hawk speaks to the persecution of the Red-tail Hawk where I grew up, in Oklahoma. The Kings and their Hawks gives a particular historical perspective. These are a few to get you started.

Ospreys: Alan Poole’s Ospreys is a good solid introduction to the birds. I am particularly fond of David Gessner’s Soaring with Fidel: An Osprey Odyssey from Cape Cod to Cuba and Beyond for a good look at the issue of migration, particularly the New England ospreys. It is a good read. Gessner’s other books speak to various environmental issues impacting birds. There are others: Scottish Ospreys by Philip Brown, Lady of the Loch by Helen Armitage amongst others. I will try and bring one up now and then.

If you want to understand migration, A World on the Wing. The Global Odyssey of Migrating Birds is a great start!

If you want a good laugh, Zarankin’s Field Notes from an Unintentional Birder is excellent!!!!

I did a quick check on some of the nests. The third hatch is hanging in there at the UFlorida Gainsville Osprey nest! Good for it. Spunky little thing.

Here is the link to the UF Osprey cam. It is not on YouTube.

https://wec.ifas.ufl.edu/extension/ospreycam/

The sun is coming out on Little Middle and Big at the Dale Hollow nest. They will be anxious for some fish to arrive on their nest.

Deb Stecyk did a short video of Big and Little Middle in the storm.

I found a new Peregrine Falcon nest this morning! It is in the UK at the Chichester Cathedral. There are four eggs.

When people get burnt out of watching Bald Eagles and Ospreys – where there is often a lot of beaking – I highly recommend both falcon and hawk nests. They are often overlooked because they are smaller raptors but the way that they take care of their young is reassuring that life is good.

There is also a Kestrel nest in Yorkshire. Eggs soon!

I highly recommend the streaming cam of Big Red and Arthur at the Cornell Campus in Ithaca, New York. Good solid nest. Big Red is 19 and Arthur is 6. Big Red has been raising little hawklets for 17 years – for ten on camera. Only one did not fledge and that was K2 in 2021 due to a beak injury and infection. There is also a good respectful moderated chat for a couple of hours in the morning.

The Queen of the RTHs, Big Red incubating four eggs on the Fernow Light Tower. This is the first time she has laid 4 eggs since the camera was set up in 2012.

Indeed, you will notice a lot of nests of falcons and hawks with four eggs this year. It could be nature’s way of adjusting for the quickly spreading Avian Flu.

Half way around the world, Lesser Spotted Eagles will be nesting in Latvia. The nest of Anna and Andris is now happy as Andris returned from his migration yesterday. Anna came home on the 12th.

And because incubation can be so boring to watch, Cal Falcons has done a really fast day in the life of Annie and the New Guy incubating! So funny and a good way to end this blog.

All of the nests seem to be doing fine. The first egg at Llyn Clywedog was laid at 10:27 this morning UK time. That is the nest of Dylan and Seren. I will be checking on those UK Osprey nests later today.

Thank you so much for joining me and for all of your good wishes, prayers, and warm thoughts for us and the garden birds and animals in the storm. It is much appreciated. Take care everyone. See you soon!

Under the Feeders. 14 April 2022

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: DHEC, UFlorida Osprey Nest, and Cornell Bird Lab and RTH.