First egg at Achieva Osprey and other Bird World News

Jack and Diane are the Ospreys at the Achieva Credit Union Nest in St Petersburg, Florida. Off and on there have been other couples coming and going when they were not on the nest. This morning, however, that is all changing. Diane laid the first egg of the 2022 season around 23:40 on 1 February! Congratulations Achieva!

Diane, I really hope that you stop at two this year! Despite Tiny Tot Tumbles surviving and then thriving last year.

Jack brought Diane a nice fish this morning and took his turn incubating the egg so she could eat and have a bit of a break. Good one, Jack.

There is something going on at the NCTC nest. Where is Bella? Smitty was seen mating on the nest with the intruder female this morning! There she is on the right with the brown feathers in her tail. She is quite easy to identify. It was 08:06.

Deb Stecyk caught it on video:

Ervie likes it down in Dad’s cave. He is still there but Dad is gone!

Anna and Louis’s baby at the KNF nest is 21 days old today. If you look carefully you can see the shafts starting on the wing tips for the flight feathers. The thermal down is really coming in nicely.

Typically, this eaglet has a huge crop as it sits in front of Anna.

I have not seen the final three names for voting posted. Cody has been in Texas until today and I am assuming that him and Steve will meet, figure out the three that were mentioned most often, and then set up the final public voting.

It’s that stage. Thermal down and clown feet and looking like Hulk. White dandelions on the head.

The little eaglet – B15- at Berry College is getting its thermal down, too. It was caught preening this morning! Did you know that the pin or blood feathers will grow where the natal down shafts were? So the thermal down always remains under the feathers to help the beautiful eagles regulate their temperature.

It looks like the eagle nests I have been reporting on will, for the most part, not be impacted by the snow and ice that is coming in through Saturday. The Love Trio along the Mississippi near Fulton, Illinois, the eagles in PA, Big Red and Arthur’s nest and Duke Farms will likely get some precipitation.

This is the current view of the Mississippi Flyway.

The Pittsburg Hayes Bald Eagles are already dealing with some snow. It is egg watch at this gorgeous nest. That is Mum on the left. Dad is looking down to that beautiful river that supplies this couple with some of their food.

Here is the link to the Pittsburgh Hayes Nest. That nest is only 5 miles from downtown Pittsburg on the Monongahela River. Remember this couple raised three lively chicks to fledge last year! Incredible. This nest is looking for 3-6 inches or up to 15 cm of snow with an ice coating tomorrow.

You might not have this next nest on your radar. This is the information on the streaming cam about the region and the eagles. “The Dulles Greenway Wetlands has been home to two American Bald Eagles since 2005. In 1995, TRIP II established a private 149-acre wetlands preserve in Leesburg, Virginia during the construction of the Dulles Greenway roadway to mitigate the loss of roughly 64 acres of federally protected wetlands. Today, the wetlands property is managed by the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy and utilized for local wildlife education.”

The first egg was laid at this nest yesterday, 1 February, at 14:47. The adults are currently changing over incubation duties.

Here is the link to this streaming cam. There is also an overhead cam that is off line at the moment. This couple will be seeing more snow and ice along with the nests in PA and NJ.

No worries for the nests in California. Akecheta is currently incubating the two eggs at the West End Bald Eagle Nest in the Channel Islands. Looks like a gorgeous day. The sky is blue in Winnipeg and the snow has stopped but it is bitterly cold. Oh, wish I could twitch my nose and arrive in California for a couple of days to thaw.

The first Kakapo chick has hatched. It was Pearl’s! And Pearl’s second chick is on the way. Here is the announcement from the Kakapo Recovery. Such good news. Hoping that all of the hatches survive and do well. This is so exciting!!!!!!!!! You are witnessing people working hard to recover a population of flightless parrots that could easily go extinct. Incredible the efforts that are being put into this. Makes me smile every day.

I wonder if Ervie will leave the Dad’s mancave today? Will monitor our beautiful boy. He is certainly settling in to a nice life on the barge! Who would have thought?

Thank you for joining me today. It is lovely to have you with me as I do a hop skip and jump around the nests. Take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or their FB pages where I took my screen captures: Kakapo Recovery, KNF Bald Eagles, Berry College Bald Eagles, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Dulles Greenway Eagle Cam, NCTC Bald Eagles, Pix Cams, Explore.org, Achieva Credit Union, and CNN.

Late Thursday in Bird World

In my excitement about the eaglets this morning at the KNF and the NEFlorida nests, I really did forget to say thank you to the people and the companies or government departments that sponsor and take care of the streaming cams so that we can learn about wildlife. My great hope is that by learning and caring about these amazing creatures and the challenges that they face, the more each of us will do to help out the environment whenever and wherever we can so that the lives of these beautiful raptors and seabirds continues.

Some of you might have seen the posting elsewhere but I want to mention it here in case you did not. A fully grown adult Bald Eagle flew into a plate glass window in a house in PA. It is in care.

https://www.wagmtv.com/2022/01/27/bald-eagle-crashes-into-houses-front-window/

This is nor the first time an Eagle has flown into a window although you are probably more familiar with the smaller birds that hit the windows and either get stunned and are alright or their necks are broken. There are solutions to this problem. The first one is to not clean your windows so that you can see reflections in them! Yes, I am inviting you not to make ever window in your house spotless. What a concept. The second is to install decals to prevent bird strike. Some of these work better than others. The third is to have ultraviolet barriers put on your windows. The last is something ingenious that I saw at our nature centre yesterday. They had 2 x 2 wooden boards cut the width of the window. Holes drilled in the bottom of the boards every 3 inches. Inserted inside were 1/4 inch nylon cords cut to the length of the window. They were glued into the holes. You could easily put the hole all the way through and tie the cord. These were hung outside the windows of the nature centre. The cords blew in the wind and they have never had a window strike despite having so many windows. I will take a photo the next time I am out there. I have so many birds in my garden and they all go flying madly in all directions if Sharpie arrives so, my windows are never spotless clean – never. I also have vines that hang down and the birds sit there and eat the berries or build their nests so – so far, any window strike problem has ceased.

In other Bald Eagle news, R-7, nicknamed Rover by the people of Brooklyn, was in Central Park giving everyone an absolute delight. How many Bald Eagles have you seen in Central Park? Incredible.

If you love urban raptors as much as I do and want to keep up with what is happening in New York City, I highly recommend Bruce Yolton’s blog urbanhawks.com

Everyone knows that I have a huge soft spot for the little eaglet of Anna and Louis. How could you miss it? At 15 days old this little one is a real charmer. What a beautiful image of it looking so lovingly up to its Mum.

The pantry is full of the most amazing things – all freshly provided by Kincaid Lake – Coots, ducks, all manner of fish including a large Bass today, and yes, turtles. With such a varied diet, this little eaglet and its parents are super healthy.

I am getting more than curious. Anna is feeding the eaglet on the KNF nest and there are 50 people watching.

Just look at that little one’s crop. No shortage of food, great parents, beautiful setting, super mods on the chat, super cameras, and great sound! That is what KNF has to offer.

There are 2129 people, as opposed to 50 at the KNF nest, watching the Bald Eagle incubate eggs at Big Bear.

What makes one nest more popular than another? I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Feel free to write me a comment or send me a note at maryannsteggles@icloud.com I seriously do not understand and want to!

The streaming cam at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge is still on the blink. For a few minutes Ervie was caught on the nest sleeping so all is well there.

For those of you that are fans of Xavier and Diamond, you might be aware that the temperatures in parts of Australia have hit all time highs of 50.7 C or 123.6 F. That heat really impacts the wildlife including the Peregrine Falcons who are being brought to the wildlife rehabbers for care. The one below is doing well!

Speaking of falcons, one of the pair (I could not make out which ones) was on the NE ledge of The Campanile just now at UC-Berkeley.

Diamond was on the ledge of the scrape. It was a bit foggy early in the morning with what looks like some rain. I checked and the temperatures seem to have cooled down considerably.

Well, I said it was civilized but despite an overflowing pantry provided by Samson, NE26 wants to be a bit of a ‘not so nice’ big sib at the most recent feeding. AWWWWWW.

Samson is really in competition with Louis for the most items in the pantry! Gabby is fabulous mother. “26, you need to settle down. Everyone gets fed.”

The eaglet at the Kisatchie National Forest just ate.

Anna filled up its crop. That baby is sound asleep in slumberland.

So if you don’t want to watch 26 bash 27 a bit, tune into the cutest eaglet at KNF. Here is the link:

Jack and Diane at the Achieva Osprey Nest were caught on camera mating on the nest today. Everyone is on egg watch as Diane settles. There is certainly excitement brewing amongst the chatters as Osprey season in Florida quickly approaches! Jack and Diane are the parents of Tiny Tot Tumbles – the third hatch no one though would survive last year but who did and became the dominant bird on the nest.

After watching Port Lincoln this year, we know that the atmosphere on a nest can change from year to year depending on the fish availability, the health of the adults, the temperature, and the gender make up of the chicks as well as the difference in hatch times. We wait to see how it will go.

The link to that camera is:

Thanks so much for joining me today. All other nests are doing well. We wait for Port Lincoln’s camera to get up and working again although there is no guarantee that Ervie will be there very much. Take care. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or their FB pages where I took my screen captures: NEFlorida Bald Eagle and the AEF, KNF Bald Eagle Cam, Falcon Cam Project at Orange and Cilla Kinross, Achieva Credit Union, and Minton Farms Animal Rescue FB, and Cal Falcons.

Saturday in Bird World

Sometimes you don’t need any words to go with the images. It was 13:30 Saturday 20 November at Diamond and Xavier’s scrape box in Orange, Australia. Yurruga is 44 days old.

Some of the volunteers at the Lindsay Wildlife Hospital are on the grounds around UC-Berkeley in case there is a falcon that needs to go in care. So far nothing. Annie has been seen soaring with the intruder that injured Grinnell. Despite Grinnell returning to his and Annie’s territory there is no certainty that he will be successful in winning his mate back or keeping his territory. Will bring all news to you when I hear it.

Bazza ‘finally’ got a portion of a fish at 12:36 yesterday. Here is a parent delivering.

The boys and their wings.

You can see Bazza’s red leg band – he has the portion of fish. Good job, Bazza. Look at Dad’s nice crop. My goodness. He has delivered so many fish to this nest I wonder if he had any portions for himself. We know the answer now.

It is so funny. Falkey is mantled like he has a fish too. Ervie is full and doesn’t care. Bazza enjoyed every morsel. Now – everyone has eaten and it is only the middle of the day. Dad has brought in at least three fish in 6 hours. Gold star.

Falkey will go on to get the 17:15 delivery from Dad. Falkey is really getting good at grabbing those fish. He seems to have ditched his nickname ‘Mellow Yellow’.

At 19:13 Bazza is going to steal what is left of Falkey’s fish right from under him. Good work, Bazza. He’s catching on. That is grand.

Bless his heart, Dad brought in yet another fish at 19:50. Bazza and Ervie fought for it. Lost it and then Ervie found it. Dad is really taking care of his boys. Thanks, Dad. If you are wondering, Bazza has hovered but has not done any flying other than the day he had the fight with Ervie and landed on the deck of the boat in Dad’s area.

Other News:

For those of you wondering about the Cornell RTH camera of Big Red and Arthur, there is a power outage at the Alumni Fields that is affecting the camera.

Poole Harbour Osprey Friends will be holding a free on line talk about the importance of bird life. Here is the information:

https://www.birdsofpooleharbourbookings.co.uk/event/osprey-project-talk?fbclid=IwAR0E886G-XBU-n5Q20cVXARlKaUNeaAxSsneJslHavl1Wjuza_EkqjSY1SQ

Bruce Yolton who writes the blog Urban Hawks and takes amazing images of the raptors in New York City, has been looking at the 86th Street Peregrine Falcons. Have a look.

I have been lucky to have stayed in Southeast Asia many times. I am particularly fond of Cambodia and Laos. The rice farmers in Cambodia have started planting a new type of rice to attract the birds back to their fields. It is a good little read.

It has been a great morning. We have not seen the garden rabbit, Hedwig, for some time. We were afraid that the construction of new condos about three blocks away destroyed the rabbit burrows. Perhaps the rabbits have moved. I was delighted to see him. He must have been under the feeders eating seed for some time because I didn’t have time to get my camera before he left.

Thank you so much for joining me. Take care everyone. Enjoy your Saturday. I am going to step back and listen to Ferris Akel’s Tour until it is time to feed all the birds.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots: the Port Lincoln Osprey and Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.

Victor Hurley answers your questions

If you missed the Q & A with Dr Victor Hurley, the researcher for the Victoria Peregrine Falcon Project, was live last week but if you missed it, here it is on YouTube. It is only audio- great presentation. There are some very good questions and answers that apply to the general population of peregrines.

My interest is in a small part of this discussion whereby corporations would be bound by a simple change in the wording of the law to protect the birds. Listen carefully. Check out your local situation if you can. See if you can help amend laws so that our lovely birds are protected.

There are some lovely books on Peregrine Falcons. Several in paperback. I highly recommend these:

  • The Peregrine by JA Baker
  • Falcon by Helen MacDonald
  • On the Wing. To the Edge of the Earth with the Peregrine Falcon by A Tennant
  • Peregrine Falcon by Patrick Stirling-Aird
  • The Peregrine’s Journey. A Story of Migration by Madeline Dunphy.

There are many others. Some better than others. The top three are my favourites.

For those of you that might have missed it, our darling Osprey, Ervie – the Little Bob who became the Big Bob – continues to be the ‘biggest’ and the leader. Ervie fledged yesterday at 13:17:38. Here it is:

What an amazing bird you are, Ervie.

I am outside for the rest of the day trying to make the garden inhabitable for the birds. The woodboxes have more than 45 cm of snow on top of them and so does the deck and the lawn. I will be checking on our bird families much later.

I hope that your Sunday is a good one. I do urge you to listen to Victor Hurley. It is a great discussion. You can turn it on and cook your dinner or have your tea and listen. Take care everyone! Thank you so much for being here.

Mr Blue Jay outwits Dyson!

Yesterday I revealed how we had finally figured out who was stealing Mr Blue Jay’s corn cobs. After several days of the cobs disappearing, we were able to catch the small Grey Squirrel in the act yesterday! We just had to look all over the garden to find the little thief!

To take the cob of corn, Dyson had to drag it for about 2 metres, pull it down steps and then 2 flower boxes. Once on the ground, he had moved it about 3 metres out of sight of the Blue Jays – and us.

I had no idea that these little squirrels were so strong. Persistent, yes, when it comes to food but, strong? The corn cobs are heavy when they have almost all the kernels on them. And this cob had only a few bites taken out of it before Dyson started moving it.

The Blue Jay family could not figure out what happened to their corn.

The real question was how to stop this activity. Dyson has lots of food – year round. Him and the other two grey squirrels have been coming to our garden for many years – 2016 for one of them. We have learned to identify them through different markings on their fur and we do keep a log. I have no idea how long urban Grey Squirrels normally live but having a penthouse (our shed) and readily available food, the vet told me she bet these three could live to be ten years old. They have no real predators other than the neighbourhood well-fed cats. The hawk that visits the garden is a Sharpie and him and his mate only take a small bird or nestling. So to cut to the chase, Dyson does not need to take Mr Blue Jay’s corn!!!!!!!!! There is never any chance that he would starve – he is just being a squirrel.

As all of you know, Blue Jays are part of the Corvid family, like Crows. These oscine passerine birds include crows, Mr Blue Jay and Company, Ravens, Magpies, Rooks, Jackdaws, Choughs, and nutcrackers. Most just say Crow Family.

Corvids are super intelligent, problem-solving birds. It seems that Mr Blue Jay was figuring out how to stop the squirrel, too, and he devised a very good method! I believe this is how it worked as I watched with camera in hand today for nearly three hours.

One of the three Blue Jays would land and watch the corn from the lilac bushes, about two metres away.

In this instance, Dad is watching from the lilac branches. He is ready to fly at Dyson if he comes near the deck where the other two are eating the corn.

Two of the Blue Jays would go down to the corn. This is Mum and their ‘baby’. Mum is nearer the corn cob.

When Mum finished eating, she flew away.

Junior went over to eat the corn under the watchful surveillance of Dad who remained in the lilacs.

While Junior ate, Mum was watching to make sure that Dyson did not come up on the deck, too.

When Junior finished, he flew off with Mum.

Would Dyson try and get the corn cob?

No way! Dad flew down to eat off a second cob of corn that I had put out. He was hungry too!

Junior flew back down to work on the other cob at the same time. Mum watched from the lilacs.

Sometimes Mum would fly down to be beside Junior and eat some corn, too.

They shared the one cob while Dad claimed the other.

There was no way that they were letting Dyson get their corn if Mum had to stand on it all day!

All of a sudden the pair become alert! They stop eating. Do they hear Dyson coming?

They look around.

Mum goes back to eating but Junior seems to think that Dyson might be coming up the other side of the deck. He seems to be listening and looking.

Junior turns all the way around.

Then all of a sudden Junior flies off.

It happened so fast I could not get a picture. Dyson had crept up to the other corn cob after Dad had left and had grabbed a kernel. Junior flew at him and sent him through the flower box over the edge of the deck.

Dyson did not come back all afternoon!

The Blue Jays were able to finish their corn cobs in peace. They figured out a wonderful way to get to eat their corn working together – way before this human came up with a plan. It was quite amazing to watch over several hours. I was truly impressed.

Wonder what will happen in the garden tomorrow?

Thank you for joining me this Friday. I hope that you are all well. Be happy. See you soon!

Urban Birds

There is a superb little video of Dad delivering Mum a pigeon carcass to feed the Melbourne Four. You will notice that the chicks really come to attention when they hear the ee-chupping that signals that a food delivery and meal are eminent.

I wonder how many prey items have been delivered to this nest so far? Awww…cute little dad just melts my heart. He is such a sweetie.

The Port Lincoln Ospreys had 7 feedings yesterday, 7 different fish deliveries. They were getting off to a good start today with a delivery very early in the morning and several quickly following. This nest just amazes me this year. Everyone is doing so well. Just look at those beautiful juvenile feathers growing in and the tails! Those magical tails with their white fringe.

I have been interested in birds since I was a child – enjoying the ones in my family’s garden and feeding them as well as the regular trips to the duck pond. It was not until I was an adult and had an encounter with a female Sharp-shinned hawk that my life catapulted into a different direction. Today I have two very focused ‘bird interests’ – Osprey nests with three hatches and urban raptors.

Today I turned back to thinking about the need for large parks within cities so that there would be a diversity of wildlife. One person who covers the Central Park area of New York City has a great blog with incredible photographs and short videos. His name is Bruce Yolton and he covers all of the birds and sometimes other species that live in the urban parks of New York City. This is the address of his blog, take a look. He has recently written about a beautiful Belted Kingfisher and Great Horned Owl.

https://www.urbanhawks.com/

Indeed, the very first streaming cam I ever watched was a pair of Red-tailed Hawks raising eyases in a nest on the ledge of New York City University’s library. I learned so much about the challenges that urban wildlife faces watching their daily lives unfold, learning the history of the nest, and chatting with many of the other people watching. Then one year, the female died of rodenticide poisoning. The male tried to incubate the eggs but, as we all know, it generally takes two full time adult birds to raise a nest. It was quite sad. Eventually, I discovered Big Red up at Cornell.

Bruce is an expert on the notorious Pale Male whose nest is on Fifth Avenue across from Central Park. You might have seen the full length documentary The Legend of Pale Male and the fight for this raptor to maintain his nest at this prestigious address. Pale Male is, I believe, coming on 32 years of age. He arrived in Central Park in 1991, thirty years ago. Bruce just uploaded a video of Pale Male hunting in Tupelo Meadow for a Brown Rat.

One of the greatest causes of death to urban raptors is rodenticide. Every time I hear or see a bird of prey eating a rat or mouse I worry that they will die from secondary poisoning. As you well know, raptors kill more rodents than any poisons. So why aren’t the designer poisons banned?

It was, however, Bruce’s video of Chimney Swifts, hundreds of them, flying into the chimneys of New York City that intrigued me. I think it will you, too.

All of the birds are doing well. Really well actually. It is reassuring in a world full of anxieties.

Thank you for joining me. I will put the link to the movie about Pale Male in case you haven’t seen it. If that is the case, grab your favourite snacks and enjoy watching the lobbying for a bird to keep its nest. It is quite remarkable. Take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac and Port Lincoln Osprey Project.

You can find the Legend of Pale Male here. It is free and well done.

thelegendofpalemale.net