NE27 is pipping and other Bird World News

Oh, the sun is so bright this morning! It is beautiful and, at the same time, it is cold. We have another extreme cold warning. That is the problem with sunny days. If it is cloudy, it is normally warmer. The birds are already coming in waiting for the feeders to be filled.

NE26 continues to do really well and Samson has piled on the fish for Gabby and 26. NE27 is now working its way through that shell with its egg tooth and there is a confirmed pip.

NE26, are you going to be nice to your younger sibling?

This is the state of the pip at 13:00. You can sometimes see the beak moving under the shell.

Gorgeous Gabby. The morning snow casts a beautiful golden glow on our Mum.

Berry College eaglet. The eaglet is bright-eyed this morning. Its left wing was stepped on yesterday when something frightened Missy and she stumbled getting up. B15 is eating fine this morning although I would feel a whole lot better if Pa Berry had more filled pantry.

A quick check on the eaglet at the Kisatchie National Forest nests shows that it is another expected 10-feeding day! The eaglet weights about 1 kg or 2 pounds now with the weight on its bottom area. You can see this easily from the image below.

E19 and E20 had a lesson in plucking before breakfast this morning! M15 arrives with a mystery bird and Harriet lines the babies up to watch. E19 and E20 had just finished up the last of what looked like a squirrel before the bird’s arrival.

R1 and R2 have their thermal down, like E19 and E20. They have both eaten today and other than some scary moments with the kidlets looking over the edge of the nest things appear to be much the same. R2 has learned to remain submissive until R1 is finished eating.

In the image below both of the eaglets, now 3 weeks old, are enjoying the sunshine and the really mild 14 degree C temperatures.

We are on the countdown to the arrivals of the Osprey in the UK. 49 days now. The staff at the nature centres are busy getting ready, making sure the streaming cams are working, and just looking forward to their arrival as it also marks the beginning of spring.

A new Osprey platform has arrived at Lyn Brenig in Wales. I have seen no word on any arrests of the individual/s who cut the pole down and frightened the Ospreys last season.

In the garden, the European Starlings and Dyson seem to have a truce. Dyson sits and eats on what is left of the big seed cylinder and the Starlings are eating off the ground and a smaller one. Meanwhile, the sparrows finally get to eat out of the flat feeder while the chickadee flits back and forth stealing seeds when it can.

Dyson has been eating for about two hours. His thick fur is keeping him warm in our -40 temperatures (with the wind chill). He is a real sweetheart…yes, you are Dyson.

The colours in the Starlings are nothing short of beautiful. In the sunshine, everything turns beautiful iridescent colours. In the shade, the patterns range from caramel to rust with some blue and green . Their beaks are so long. These two have already managed to remove all of the meal worms! Cheeky.

I hope the Starlings stay all year. They have really brought some life to the garden.

I will continue to monitor NE27s progress towards hatching and will check in on Ervie several times if he is on the barge. In the meantime, Daisy the Duck seems to have found another spot for her eggs. Or will she land on the WBSE nest the minute I post this blog? There seems to be no recent news on Annie and Grinnell and this time ‘no news’ is going to be taken as ‘good news’. For those of you following the illnesses that have beset the dogs walking on the Yorkshire beaches, the historic deaths of crustaceans and sea birds, it appears that the cause has been found. It is the dredging up of toxins that were once dumped in the area. In Manitoba we are very familiar with this as the dredging of land to build the northern dams to produce electricity for the south of the province have caused the water – drinking, in lakes, and in ponds – to not be able to be used for at least two decades if not more. This is very sad as the marine life and sea birds continue to die off the coast of northwest England. If you haven’t already, please submit your name for the Kisatchie eaglet. The deadline is 30 January. The three names most mentioned will form the short list from which the winner will be chosen at the end of the first week of February. I will keep you posted. You can send your suggestions to: nameknfeagle@gmail.com

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or FB pages where I took my screen captures: NEFlorida and the AEF, Berry College, SWFlorida and D Pritchett, Brenig Osprey Project, KNF, and the WRDC.

2 Fledges in Ospreyland — and More and more threats to their health

Let’s start off with the fledges. Wow. They almost happened simultaneously.

Only Bob, Blue 496 at Clywedog, the son of Dylan and Seren fledged at 12:34:54 on 12 July.

And he’s off. He first flight was short but it was a fledge – he went to the camera pole. Congratulations Only Bob!

Dysynni, Blue 490, fledged from the Dyfi nest, the son of Idris and Telyn, at 12:26.

Gorgeous take off! Congratulations.

And now to the serious stuff for the day. It is wonderful to see the birds fledge but we need to take care of them afterwards.

If someone stopped you on the street and asked you to list all of the threats to the well being of our beloved Fish Hawks, what would you say? Think about this and jot down as many issues as you can. You can even use some historic examples because in parts of the world some of those could still be threats.

“Pandion haliaetus Osprey” by David A. Hofmann is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
  • Methamphetamines. The Smithsonian Magazine picked up a story running in several newspapers about a week ago. That article focused on the minute amounts of meth amphetamine that were in the water and that the fish had gotten addicted. The diet of Ospreys is fish. How might this impact the adults and their chicks?
  • Fishing Equipment. Every year adults and chicks alike get tangled in monofilament fishing line. Without doing any research to find the latest examples, there was the incident of the dead Osprey near London, Ontario about a month ago and just a week ago Fortis Alberta was called to the Red Deer Osprey Nest to remove monofilament line around the only surviving chick on that nest. I am going to guess that anyone reading this will have several examples. Then there are the hooks. And hooks attached to monofilament line.
“People fishing on the shores of Loko Waimaluhia (Hoʻomaluhia Reservoir)” by nsub1 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
  • Non degradable Baling Twine. The banders who went to Warm Springs, Montana, found four chicks entangled in bailing twine. One had died. It took 20 minutes to remove the twine from another chick. The twine was so tightly wound that it had cut through the skin and had halted the chick’s circulation. As a result the chick was in pain and the leg was very swollen.
Copyright Montana Osprey Project
  • The impacts of climate change can include a long list of side effects. One of those is heavy winds that can tear down trees and nests.
  • The impacts of climate change can include a warming planet. Everyone witnessed the high temperatures that hit the Pacific Northwest (the US and Canada) recently (June 28). Heat kills Osprey chicks that cannot regulate their own temperature to survive. The heat also causes the fish to go to the bottom of the river or lake so that they are difficult to catch. This causes the birds to become dehydrated and die if there are not sufficient deliveries. You can probably name several nests where you witnessed chicks die due to the heat. Ospreys want open nests or platforms where they can see the environment around them. Because of this the nests are not shaded and the temperature on the nests can be higher than that reported. The sun bears down on the little ones and they die quickly. A good example is the Cowlitz chick. Electra went to get fish despite the fact that the chick had a crop. Temperatures were in excess of 40 degrees C. The mother was only gone from the nest for a few minutes when the chick began calling for her and died of heat stroke. Osprey chicks in British Columbia and in Alberta also suffered death from the high temperatures.
  • Decline in fish stock numbers due to pollution, high temperatures, and drought. The diet of Ospreys is 99% fish and if the fish numbers are low, the Osprey have nothing to eat.
  • Snowpack. Warming temperatures mean that there is less of a snowpack at the top of the mountains. The snowpack will melt faster causing flooding making it difficult for the Osprey males to catch fish when the chicks are hatching.
  • Mine waste and heavy metals. Eric Greene studies the toxic heavy metals in Montana from the old mining sites. He tests for these when Osprey chicks are banded. He has found 30% more arsenic in 2018 than he did when he began his study in 2006. Greene has also found very high mercury levels that result in egg mortality. The rate is up to 50%. Greene also found that the level of mercury in Osprey chicks blood is 100 times higher in the chicks than what is considered a problem for humans. Imagine. In other areas of the Clark Forks River, there is so much dioxins, furans, and PCBs that humans have been told not to eat the fish. The Osprey continue to eat the fish and feed it to their chicks. I do not know if you can open it but here is a report from Montana on the clean up and issues related to heavy metals in the Osprey:

https://hs.umt.edu/osprey/heavyMetalStudies.php

  • Soil Remediation to remove the contaminants from the rivers causes a temporary decline in fish stock.
  • Egg collecting. In the late nineteenth century and early twentieth, the collection of Osprey eggs was very much ‘in vogue’. This caused the numbers of Osprey to decline significantly. There remain some egg thieves today. The eggs of Osprey were considered the most beautiful and were highly prized. A man in the United Kingdom, Mark Gonshaw, was convicted of illegally acquiring eggs of endangered species including eight Osprey eggs in 2011. He had more than 700 eggs in his possession and on 22 December 2011 he was sentenced to prison. You can read about this here: https://focusingonwildlife.com/news/british-egg-collector-sentenced-to-prison-term/
  • Vandalism. A good example is the instance when one or more persons came to the Lyn Brenig Osprey Platform where there was egg/s and cut down the platform with a chainsaw.
  • Shooting. This year it is known that at least two Ospreys were shot over Malta on their return flight from Africa to their breeding grounds in the United Kingdom and Europe.
  • Other Birds of Prey or Animals. Other birds and animals often predate the eggs or take the chicks out of the nest such as the attack on the nest by a Northern Goshawk in Latvia recently. Great Horned Owls are also problematic as are Ravens who love Osprey eggs.
  • Urban Development and loss of forest habitat.
  • Power Lines. Many power companies are now creating artificial platforms so that the birds are not electrocuted on the lines.
  • Pesticides. Ospreys were the first of the large raptors to warm about DDT. Today DDT still exists in the soil of some areas and causes reproductive and thinning of the egg shells.
  • Poor Water Quality. You might recall that there was an enormous spill of toxic material into the water near the Sarasota Osprey nests. Those toxins will spread with the flow of the water.
  • Hypothermia. Hypothermia is believed to be the cause of the deaths of the surviving two osprey chicks at the Urdaibai Biosphere in Spain.
  • Human disturbance. Ospreys are much more tolerant of humans than many of the other large birds of prey. Still humans can come near the nests and frighten the birds causing them to abandon their nests with eggs or chicks.
  • Avian Flu. The impact from this is not clear. I continue to research.
  • Competition within their own species for nests and territories.
  • Competition within their own nest.

The article from The Smithsonian is here:

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/meth-pollution-waterways-turning-trout-junkies-180978133/

Another article:

You have probably thought of many more ways that these beloved birds are threatened. I would love to hear from you!

I will leave you with a couple of images of Tiny Little taken around 6:15 am Monday 12 July 2021 nest time. Tiny you are not looking so Tiny! No one needs to worry about you and that is fantastic.

Tiny Little seems to really be enjoying himself up on that perch instead of being on the soggy nest this morning. Look at those wings. Tiny Little has grown like a very bad weed in my flowerbed. Unbelievable! Maybe that bander is right and he will be the second to fledge! We wait. This afternoon, Little Bob was getting some bites in between Fledgling Bob, 464 being fed.

Thank you so much for joining me. Stay safe and take care. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots: The Cumbria Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest, the Dyfi Osprey Project, and CarnyX Wildlife and the Clywedog Osprey Cam. I am grateful to the Montana Osprey Project FB site for the link to the recent report on threats to the Ospreys in their state and for the photo of the entangled Osprey chick which I took from their FB Page.

As the Nest Turns is spinning faster!

Big Red left the Fernow Lightbox Nest with the 2Ks at 14:10:46. She returned at 14:24:14. The temperature in Ithaca was 25 degrees C and the 2 Ks were fine. They got some much needed warmth from the sun.

Oh, gosh, aren’t they the cutest with those tiny little wings and fat little bottoms!

Oh, look at K1 looking up to its Mom. How sweet. And look what Big Red has in her talons!!!!! Looks like rabbit is in the pot for dinner.

Often Arthur will hunt – his job is provide the food for the family, security for the territory, and support for Big Red – and leave prey at a drop off for Big Red to pick up and take to the nest. Sometimes Big Red hunts herself. We will never know who caught the bunny but there it is – it will become hawk. I sound like a broken record but these kids will never be short of food – never. And if they are there will have had to have been a major catastrophe in the area.

The vandalism at the Llyn Brenig Osprey nest caught the attention of one of the BBC morning programmes. On Saturday night the platform was approached by boat and cut down with a chainsaw. A tragedy. On that nest was the female and her egg. Alternative arrangements have been made for the Ospreys which Wales Water hopes they will take advantage of – one is a new platform close by and another is a replacement platform where their original one was.

Here is that broadcast:

As gleeful as I am to see Big Red and her very trusted mate, Arthur, enjoying their beautiful babies, I am equally joyful to see ‘no’ eggs on the nest of Iris at the Hellgate Osprey Nest. Her mate, Louis, has two nests. Historically he has not been the best provider for Iris, the oldest breeding Osprey in the world. There has been nothing short of heart ache for Iris since her mate, Stanley, died. I am glad there are no eggs. Iris will not take another mate because she is bonded to this nest in Louis’s territory. Another male will not come and take over unless he takes out Louis – and then what about Starr and her osplets? It is very complicated. Raising chicks takes a toll on both of the parents.

Over in the United Kingdom, Maya and Blue 33 (11) woke up to a soggy morning. Blue 33 (11) loves sleeping and cuddling next to his mate. Their devotion to one another is refreshing when I think about what Iris’s life could be and isn’t.

As the day progressed, the sun came up and Maya dried out. It is day 35 for that first egg that Maya laid. You might remember that her and Blue 33 (11) were the first couple to return from their winter migration to Africa on 19 March. The normal incubation period for Ospreys is 35-42 days. We are now on hatch watch for this lovely couple!

If you would like to catch out the action, here is the link to their camera at Rutland Mantou:

I often get frustrated with prey delivery to the nests. The birds cannot, of course, go to a store and buy a bunny or a fish. They have to hunt and fish for their food. It was a lot easier for the birds to do this before we took over their land or killed it with pesticides and herbicides. Boating and fishing leave their mark on the health and well-being of the birds as well.

Here is a video of Richmond, the mate of Rosie, at the San Francisco Osprey Nest on the Whirley Crane. It is a 6 minute clip of him going out to fish. Richmond is a bit like Arthur – he is an incredible provider.

If you would rather not look at the video, I can show you that Richmond was successful but it was the legion of trips that he had to do across the water that is so impressive.

It is evening in the United Kingdom and any snow that was on the Welsh Osprey nests yesterday is now gone.

Mrs G is on her nest at Glaslyn as the sun is setting and all is fine.

Telyn is on her nest and all is well. She apparently called out to a train when it went by! No hatch alerts for either of these two nests. More than a week to go at either one (or a little more).

And the last for today, the White Tail Eagle nest in Estonia of Eve and Eerik. Eerik is another great dad – he is working on keeping the pantry full enough. Those two little ones are really growing. Everything is positively fine on this nest. The little ones sit up and eat and there is no mischief!

Thank you so much for joining me. I will see you tomorrow. Have a great evening! It is a wonderful day to work in the garden. I noticed there is now green on the rose bushes and the peony shoots are about 10 cm high. Stay safe everyone.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I get my screen shots: Cornell Bird Lab and RTH, Eagle Club of Estonia, Dyfi Osprey Project, Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife, Cornell Bird Lab and the Montana Osprey Project, LRWT Osprey Project with Rutland Water and Rutland Wildlife Trust and, Bay Ospreys by Golden Gate Audubon.