Catching up with WBSE 27 and 28

The WBSE are both in the 11th week after hatching. With the average of 75-80 days after hatch for fledgling, WBSE 27 and 28 are ready. Their feathers have developed, they have grown, and you can see them getting excited with all the wing flapping and catching air enabling them to rise above the nest.

What are they watching so intently from the nest? Is it a Pied Currawong?

Of course, the Pied Currawong are right there. The Pied Currawong is closely related to the Butcherbirds or the Magpies in Austrlia. They are a medium sized passerine. They have a large black beak with yellow eyes.

Here is a short video of the calls/songs the Pied Currawong make:

The Currawong become more of a menace around fledging time. Their attacks increase in number and they could injure the chicks, knock them off the branches, or chase them out of the forest before they can imprint the route back to the nest in their mind’s GPS system.

Lady was on the nest honking and flapping her wings at the Currawong so the eaglets could finish their lunch. At other times, the eaglets have to learn to defend themselves or hunker down really low in the nest. Because the WBSE are at the top of the ‘food chain’, they will always be followed and attacked by the smaller birds. What do the smaller birds want? They want the WBSE to pack up and leave!

Lady is honking really loud, warning the intruder to leave.

Lady was in the nest much earlier feeding both of her eaglets. Many of you have probably noticed that despite the fact that the nestlings are fully capable of self-feeding, she seems to enjoy feeding them.

The eaglets know to stay alert for intruders while flapping their wings and jumping to stretch their legs.

They honk at the Currawong just like the adults.

The Pied Currawong are very brave. Indeed, their attacks on the almost-fledglings is relentless. Ironically, I don’t believe the WBSE eat Currawong. Sometimes I think that they should rethink that!

Both of the nestlings have branched. They are standing on the parent branch looking around. Soon they will fledge.

It has been a wonderful season for Lady and Dad at their nest. Both of their eggs hatched and both of the nestlings thrived under their care. Both are healthy and fit and we hope that they both fledge successfully, returning to the nest or other areas so Lady and Dad can continue to feed them while they learn to fly better.

We wish them a long and successful life. It has been a remarkable year.

Lady and Dad are ‘honking’ their duet in June. It is a really special way to end another good day!

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

Thank you to the Sea Eagle Cam @ Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre for their streaming cam where I took these screen and video captures.

Oh, Little Bob!

Oh, another glorious fall day on the Canadian Prairies. The sun is shining bright and the sky is blue. The leaves of the vines looking like stained glass ranging in colour from rust to orange, light yellow, and chartreuse. Just stunningly beautiful.

I always worry about the third hatches. I have worried about the third at the Port Lincoln nest the minute the egg was laid. Last evening one of the chatters called #3 “Tuffet.” That is a great nickname for Little Bob.

And Little Bob looks like such an angel. If you are having trouble telling who he is, he still has his egg tooth today. That is him wide awake smiling at the camera.

My goodness. I have begun to feel sorry for Mum. She has only to wiggle or get up to stretch and he has his mouth wide open!

Big and Middle are not bothered at all. Little Bob still has a crop but he is sure curious as to whether or not Mom will give him some bites!

“What cha’ doin’ Mom?”

Little Bob is decidedly not hungry. When I last left the family Dad had brought what was left of the ‘whale’ that he had brought in at 12:35:44.

There was another feeding around 13:08.

If you are wondering, yes, that is Little Bob being fed!

By 13:24 Mum has them all tucked and Dad is over on the ropes.

Around 16:00 the chicks are fed again.

With the whale finished, Dad is going to need to go out and fishing. At 16:49 Dad comes to have a consultation with Mom. She puts in an order for a fish as the kids are growing restless.

The delivery comes in half an hour. Well done, Dad. I wonder if he has a stash of these nice large fish?

Notice that all of the chicks have some fish still in their crop from the earlier feeding.

Oh, dear. That fish was flapping. Hope that little one is OK. It sure isn’t stopping Little Bob with his crop from wanting a meal. There he is near that flapping tail.

Oh, these three are really going to be a handful when they are older. Dad is going to have to bring further reinforcements for the walls. Mom finishes feeding them and then…

She moves the fish and starts again! They all line up again.

Look carefully at the back of Little Bob on the end. Can you see the two dark stripes starting to emerge? and just look at how adorable those little wings are. Gosh these kids are cute.

Dad will remove the fish and return it at 18:20:01.

There’s Little Bob flaunting his crop – wondering if his is the biggest or not.

Mom probably thought she could have a few bites in peace and quiet. What do you think? Yes, that is Little Bob with his mouth open! Poor Mom.

Now another wants some fish. You can still see their crops from the 18:22 feeding. But there is also something else we can see. Look, pin feathers are coming. Soon they will look like reptiles. Their light coat of down will be replaced by a darker woolier coat at 10-12 days. That is followed by the reptile phase.

We are entering the second week. Already these chicks have more than likely tripled their body weight. It should, in fact double again in the next three to four days. The fastest period of growth will come at 15-30 days. This is when we need fish on this nest.

It is possible that when Mom got up to eat some fish she fed some of the Osplets around 21:13.

It was hard to tell because Mum swung herself around so we couldn’t see.

Little Bob wiggles his way out from under Mom in the middle of the night and is calling for fish!

And we are back where we started. Around 1:13, Mom wants to stretch her legs and Little Bob thinks it is time to eat again – crop or not.

It is now 2:51 in the morning, 22 September in Australia. Mom and chicks are fast asleep. No doubt Little Bob will be right up front at the table the minute that fish lands on the nest.

This third hatch is anything but shy or afraid. This nest has really turned itself around thanks to the good deliveries of fish by Dad and the continuous feedings by Mom. No one on this nest has been hungry.

The crucial period is not here yet. We need to make it through weeks 3 and 4.*

Looking for hatch watch with the Peregrine falcons in Melbourne in 6 days. That will liven things up a bit. Over at the WBSE in the Sydney Olympic Park, the parents are dropping prey now that the eaglets are self-feeding. Most of the time 27 gets the food. Yesterday, Mom did the feeding. 28 had a nice crop. The first seen in awhile. The pair continue to work their wings.

Thank you so much for joining me today — and thank you for your interest in the Eastern Ospreys at Port Lincoln, Australia. So far, so good. Continue to send warm wishes to all the nests.

Thank you to the Port Lincoln Osprey Project and the Sea Eagles @ Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots.

* Last year, the feedings were not as good at the PLO. Around Day 15 there was a perceived drop in food delivery. Siblicide occurred and sadly, little Tapps died when he was 18 days old.

White Bellied Sea Eaglet 28 dominates feeding

The golden glow of the morning sun kissed the branches of the old Ironbark Tree in Sydney’s Olympic Forest. WBSE 27 and 28 were sound asleep in the nest bowl while an adult was on the parent branch keeping watch.

This morning breakfast arrived at 9:20:11. It was a nice chunk of fish.

28 was up at the breakfast table right away and dominated the feeding. There was no pecking and 28 was on the left side! Well, well.

It is easy to see that 28 really loves the fish! One of the things people have noticed is that the birds actually do have preferences. Some prefer fish, others prefer birds. Some don’t like specific species of birds. WBSE tend to really love their fish!

Here is a short video clip of the feeding.

WBSE 28 is still being fed after ten minutes. Indeed, Lady will still be feeding 28, almost exclusively, for another twenty minutes.

At 9:30:11 either a Pied Currawong or an Australian Magpie swooped down on the nest. Lady alerted and both of the sea eaglets pancaked on the nest.

Anyone watching the feeding would have immediately known that Lady’s alert call meant ‘danger’ and the sea eaglets stopped everything and became very still. This is what all raptors do, as far as I know. It is certainly what Osprey chicks do when their parent is alerting.

Oh, these eaglets love this fresh fish! 28 has gotten very good at the quick snatch method as well. He is very cute.

Lady finished feeding the pair at 10:01:27. They both settled down, each with a crop – 28’s was the biggest! He is in front sort of sitting up.

Right now it is easy to tell the difference – 27 has more juvenile feathers on its shoulders and wings.

No doubt, WBSE 27 might well dominate the next feeding. But it is significant to note that 28 stepped up first and was fed – and went to sleep with a very large crop. There was absolutely not a hint of sibling rivalry other than the typical ‘snatch and turn’ of 28 at times. The ‘snatch and turn’ is often a side effect reaction – grab the food quickly and turn – protecting one’s head from being pecked earlier in the chick’s life.

These two are doing very well. I hope that the Magpie or the Currawong – as well as BooBook Owl, and others do not inflict any injuries on any of the sea eagles. In fact, some of you might remember that it was a Magpie that helped WBSE 26 last year against the Pied Currawong.

The top two images are of a Pied Currawong and the bottom one is an Australian Magpie. Sometimes you only see a blur. Those familiar with the sounds of the forest might be able to tell who caused the ruckus.

“Pied Currawong ( Strepera graculina)” by Tatters ✾ is licensed under CC BY 2.0
“Pied Currawong” by Tatters ✾ is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

There are decided differences between the two but a split second sweep of black and white makes it difficult. The Pied Currawong has been a constant in the Sydney Olympic Forest. Perhaps it has a nest near to the sea eagles and wants the big birds – the top of the food chain – to get out of town!

“Australian Magpie” by Lisa.Hunt is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Sadly, the Currawong did chase 26 out of the forest and she wound up the next day, after a storm that evening, on the 22nd floor of a condo building about 1.5 kilometres away from the nest. The Currawong are a big problem in the forest. They also chased 25 out when it fledged and I suspect they have done this in years past. 25 never returned to the nest. No one knows what became of her. Ideally, these two beauties fledge and return to the nest for rest and food just like the Bald Eagles or the sea eagle fledglings are fed down by the Parramatta River by the parents til they can survive on their own.

It has to be mentioned that Sydney’s Parramatta River is full of dioxins. Commercial fishing is banned after elevated levels of the toxins were found in seafood from the Sydney Harbour and the Parramatta River.

“Parramatta River, NSW, Australia” by Terrazzo is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The toxins leaked into the river from a shipping container company as reported in The Sydney Morning Herald on 16 May 2009. The article said, “The Patrick’s site on the Camellia peninsula, near Rosehill Racecourse, has been found to be leaking the chemical Chromium VI, posing a risk to people and marine life.”

In 2017, 2ser 107.3 reported that the Parramatta River was a “toxic time bomb.” They said, “Fifty years of toxic chemical residue is sitting on the bottom of Sydney Harbour and the Parramatta River. It’s a toxic time-bomb and disturbing this sediment could worsen already dire pollution levels. And now sweeping developments along the shore of the River could be bringing more pollution to the already sullied waters.” While many might have hoped to swim in the river before they were too elderly to do so, contaminated storm water was pumped into the river in December 2020 causing more problems.

https://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/contaminated-storm-water-pumped-from-camellia-site-into-parramatta-river/news-story/83b1a3c9e5e5c226d687ad47f0ee982e

That lovely fish that the two sea eaglets ate this morning came from this river. It is a tragedy.

Thank you so much for joining me. These are just the cutest little sea eagles. 28 is quite the character. Spend some time watching them. Everything is good.

Thank you to the Sydney Sea Eagle Cam @ Birdlife Australia’s Discovery Centre for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots and video clip.

A look at 3 feedings at the WBSE Nest

All of the other nests are relatively quiet. While I do love to see the adults sharing incubation duties, watching a bird incubate eggs can sometimes feel like watching paint dry. So I decided to go and see what was happening with the little sea eaglets. They were just finishing a meal when I started watching them. I turned away for a second and a second gull was brought to the nest by Dad at 12:47. Good gracious. Had Dad won the Silver Gull Lottery?

This is an image from the feeding when I first started watching the sea eaglets. Thank goodness for rewind. This was the first prey delivery of the day and it arrived at 12:19:01.

Both eaglets are sharing the prey and behaving themselves in this feeding. WBSE 27 is on the left and 28 is on the right. The picture shows Lady giving 28 a morsel of meat. She alternates between them. There is absolutely not a hint of rivalry.

Here they are standing up. It is a wonder they aren’t falling over from being top heavy.

They hear Dad approaching the nest.

Dad arrives at the nest with another gull. Both of them sit on their little bottoms in shock. Look at their faces seeing that prey. Also notice that 28, in the front, has a large crop, too.

The time for the second delivery is 12:47:20 as shown on the time stamp.

Remember, both have literally just eaten. Both chicks have crops. Neither one of them is ‘starving’. Indeed, there is no shortage of food on the nest. The behaviour in this second feeding demonstrates that rivalry is not always because there is less food being delivered. It is strictly about dominance on the nest.

In the image below, 27 is up by Lady getting ready to be fed. 28 is moving up from the back to go to the left of 28. I wonder why 28 did not go to the right. That is its usual spot – and it is a good place to catch the eye of Lady.

27 first gives 28 ‘the look’. Was it because 28 had to balance itself by extending its wing out and it touched 27’s back?

Whatever it was, 27 pecks 28 making sure that 28 realizes who is boss.

28 immediately goes into submission and stays that way for approximately 12 minutes while 27 eats the gull. These are the hardest things to watch on these large raptor nests between the chicks. We always want them to be nice to one another.

By the time that 28 straightens himself and gets up to the feeding place, the gull is almost gone. 27 got 98% of that gull while 28 got a few bites.

The behaviour of 27 shows that despite there being plenty of food, she will insist on dominance. She will eat first. Anyone watching large raptor nests will know that there is always a dominant bird. Often the one dominated gets very clever. They listen, watch, and learn to read ‘the clues’ so as not to be attacked. 28 has a little more learning to do. It would be interesting to see if 28 is only pecked when it is on the left.

So the time is 13:07:18 – and guess what?! A third gull arrives on the nest at 13:15:13. Yes, I am serious. Dad must have found a nest of gulls. If I remember correctly there is an old barge and the Silver Gulls make their nests there. It is not far away. Someone told me once that the pigeons are for falcons and gulls are for eagles. It certainly seems true at some of the Australian nests!

Here is the next prey item arriving on the nest.

Both chicks get up to the feeding area. 27 is on the left and 28 has its usual spot on the right. It is important to note that the eagles do not see straight in front of them; they must tilt their head a bit.

Just look at how full these two are! I do hope that Lady gets a chance to eat.

This time 28 got lots of food. Lady alternated between them. In the end, 27 was too full to eat anymore and 28 finished off that gull.

Both are in food comas.

There is no moral to this story. There is a lot of prey coming on the WBSE nest. This is the first time I have seen three prey items delivered and eaten in this short of time. WBSE 27 still feels that it needs to, sometimes, throw about her position on the nest. At this last feeding there was no rivalry. Both ate and they had big enough crops to last them til evening!

As they grow, each will need more and more food. The gull chicks are not that big. The food that is delivered is also meant for Lady. Let us hope that she gets a good meal today. The female’s lose vital nutrients making the eggs they lay and it is said that they lose approximately 30% of their body weight during the nesting phase. Hopefully Dad will bring on a nice big fish or eel for later.

The Silver Gull that Dad brings to the nest are the most common gull in Australia.

“Silver Gull” by 0ystercatcher is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

They are found everywhere. While the adults are 40-45 cm or 15.7 to 18 inches and have a wing span of 94 cm or 3 ft, the chicks would be much smaller. Last year Dad was always raiding the nests of the gulls in addition to fish, eels, and at least one turtle. I recall that one eagle expert said that the ‘red meat’ of some prey tends to make the eaglets more aggressive than the fish. That could be what happened today or maybe 27 was just annoyed at 28 for touching her.

Both sea eaglets are eating as you can see. It is a bit unnerving to see the eldest whip the little one into shape especially since they had been doing so well. Still, this is a worthwhile nest to watch because the behaviour is so fascinating. I am going to have to watch this nest more closely. I am curious as to whether the pecking only occurs when WBSE 28 is on the left of 27. Perhaps it doesn’t matter.

The link to the WBSE camera is here:

One of the things I find most fascinating are learning the birds connected with their vocalizations in the Sydney Olympic Forest.

Thanks so much for joining me today. Stay well, stay safe. See you soon.

Thank you to the Sea Eagle Cam @ Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre where I took my screen shots.

Sydney White-Bellied Sea Eaglets

There was concern that siblicide was occurring on the White-Bellied Sea Eagle nest in Sydney’s Olympic Park. It is time to put those fears aside. Prey delivery has become regularized and the two are fed regularly, growing, and are becoming curious about what is happening outside the nest.

The White-Bellied Sea Eagles are Australia’s second largest bird of prey. They have a wing span of 1.8-2.2 metres or 6-7 feet. They weigh up to 4.2 kg or 9 lbs. The female is larger and weighs more than the male. This is known as reverse sex size dimorphism. The adults on the Sydney Olympic Park Ironbark Tree are Lady and Dad. There have been a succession of breeding couples using this tree nest for decades.

In 2021, WBSE 27 hatched on 29 July at 4:57 and WBSE 28 hatched 31 July at 5:48 pm. Just to remind you how tiny they were here are two images in those first few days.

In the first image WBSE 27 was not quite 24 hours old.

In this one, WBSE is not quite 24 hours old and WBSE 27 is almost 48 hours old. You can clearly see the egg tooth, the white piece on the tip of the beak that helps them break through the hard egg shell.

Now look at the two of them. WBSE 27 is on the right with WBSE 28 on the left. You can see how 48 hours difference in age impacts the growth of the juvenile feathers.

In terms of the development, we are entering weeks 5 and 6. By week 5, the chicks will still have their white down. Pin feathers will appear on the shoulders, the back and the wing tips. If you look at the image above you can see these dark feathers coming in on each of the chicks. They should be standing on both feet, checking out the nest, and trying to pick up food. They may start to flap their wings. As we get to week 6, more and more of the dark feathers will begin to show all over the chick’s body. They will preen a considerable amount of time per day. They will now do more wing flapping and standing on both of their feet without the aid of the wings. They will continue efforts at self-feeding (if allowed, Lady does love to feed them!).

Looking forward to developments during week 7, the chicks will do a lot more preening as the dark brown juvenile feathers will continue to grow over their entire bodies. It has to be really itchy – those feathers coming in. Their tail will become noticeable. When they sit they may spread their wings. You may see them begin mantling. They will become more steady on their feet. One notable change is the chick’s interest in grapsing twigs and food with their feet. They should continue to work on self-feeding but this, of course, depends on whether or not prey is left on the nest for them to practice.

WBSE 27 is standing nicely on his feet. WBSE 28 still has a crop from an earlier feeding. You can really see how many wing feathers are coming in. Just look at that little tail developing.

It looks like 28 has a bit of a food coma. 27 is busy looking at what is happening outside the nest.

WBSE continues to work on its balance. Notice how it is holding out its wings for balance. Often the birds will use the tip of the win to keep them steady on their feet. By the end of the 6th week, they should be standing without using the wings. WBSE 28 is working hard to do this.

WBSE is also curious as to what the adult is doing up on the branch. Notice how 28 is sitting with its wings loose to the sides. Sometimes I find that the chicks on the nest are actually ahead of the development scales for that week.

Lady has come a long way in her parenting skills. Both chicks wait their turn to be fed. She will give 28 a few bites and then 27 and then back to 28. This method has given the chicks food security and reduced the pecking of 28 by 27.

Lady always looks like she is smiling to me.

Here is the link to the Sydney Sea Eagle Cam.

Thank you so much for joining me. I know that there are so many people who love these little eagles and I wanted to reassure all that the nest is very calm and peaceful and the chicks are developing normally. Take care everyone. Stay safe.

Thank you to the Sea Eagle Cam@ Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots.

Monday in Bird World

If you are looking to take ‘decent’ photos of Canada geese, if it is a hot day in the afternoon, don’t bother. They are all taking siestas! Best time is in the morning and early evening. The Cooper’s hawks were not about either.

We had a lovely walk through the park anyway. It was just a beautiful end of the summer day i. The flowers are still blooming in the English Garden and there were more than eight people with their cameras cuddled up by the Bee Balm trying to see if they could catch a glimpse of a hummer. They were probably sleeping like the ducks.

Most of the time this pond is full of Canada geese. Not a one. A couple of lonely ducks out on the water.

This is the tower at the Duck Pond at Assiniboine Park in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

All of the water features and the move from full sun to shade gardens made the stroll delightful. There were a few people wishing they could put their feet in the lotus pond.

So we drove to a different, small park. That is actually where we found the geese sleeping and alerted me to why we could not see them in the big park. Only a few were foraging in the grass.

The juvenile wood ducks are getting bigger! They have tripled in size in a couple of weeks.

The Mallards were so busy digging in the dirt under the bark they hardly noticed me.

What is she looking for?

They are sifting through the mud and bark near the pond searching for bugs, maggots, and anything else that they can feed on including little plants. The behaviour is perfectly normal!

This gentleman got back in the water and cleaned himself off later.

There were a few geese not sleeping. These were hot and stood at the edge of the pond drinking for about five minutes.

Then they decided to do a lot of preening.

Mr Crow was simply upset at everyone today. There were people having picnics not too far away. I wonder if he was looking for some treats? It was actually good to see that no one was feeding the ducks cakes and bread. The signs are working!

Gosh, isn’t this male Wood Duck lovely? What stunning colours and that big red eye.

Another one of the juvenile Wood Ducks.

This little male decided to swim right up so I could get a good shot of him. They have the most gorgeous patterning. The swept back crest and those iridescent feathers are just stunning. He had to be the most handsome male at the pond today.

He swam away.

And then he turned around again.

Male ducks are called ‘drakes’.

This is a male Wood Duck undergoing eclipse during the summer. During this time he will lose his beautiful male plumage but he will get it back in the fall. Some ducks are unable to fly when they molt. The females also molt too.

Oh, isn’t this female Mallard gorgeous?

She might not be as colourful as the male Wood Duck but she is always a beauty. Did you know that female ducks are called ‘hens’?

The Mallards were simply going crazy splashing up and down in the water today. It was like they were trying to shake the plants up from the bottom of the pond so they could eat them.

What a beauty. Just before she flew off.

All of the ducks will hatch their eggs, take care of their babies, molt, regrow their feathers, and everyone will hope to eat well before they migrate.

The ducks in the nature centres and parks are not ringed so that they can be counted if they are shot! We enjoy learning about their life cycles and watching their babies grow. Oh, I would not be popular in places where hunting is popular!

Just a some notes about what is happening in the rest of Bird World. The people running the Sydney Sea Eagle cam have turned it back on. They believe that the danger for WBSE 28 has passed. Both of the little sea eagles have been eating well and prey has been regular. This is fantastic news.

The last of the Black Storklings that was fed on the nest in Jegova County took an unusual flight path when it left for migration. And then,Julge decided not to fly but to get on a boat and it is now heading for Primorsk, Russia. It should be there on 31 August. Julge is the purple line showing in the middle of the sea on the Birdmap tracking. I hope that Julge is OK and corrects his flight path. It would be very cold in that northern part of Russia in the winter.

Diamond even accepted a Starling from Xavier today for her lunch. There has been lots of mating – sounds heard on the camera – but no egg yet.

This morning Idris was on the Dyfi nest defending it. What expressions came on this Osprey! His son, Dysynni has not been seen since Saturday the 28th at 10:57.

I know that lots of people like to plan trips – when we can travel again – to see the Osprey. It seems that those down in Poole Harbour, England have hit the jackpot. All of the migrating birds are stopping there to feed and rest. So think end of August – Poole Harbour!

Thanks for joining me today. Tiny Tot and Tiny Little are out somewhere making their way in the world. We want them to stay safe – all the birds – and all of you. Take care.

Thanks to the following for their screen cams where I took my screen shots: Dyfi Osprey Project, The Falcon Cam at Charles Sturt University, Orange, and Cilla Kinross, the Sea Eagle Cam, Birdlife Australia, and The Discovery Centre and the folks running the BirdMap.

Checking in on Australia

It is raining in parts of Australia. Orange got 50 mm and there are floods about while there was 37 mm out at the Campus where the scrape box of Peregrine Falcon couple, Xavier and Diamond, have their scrape box.

Diamond has spent time on the ledge and going back to the scrape box looking like she is concentrating on that first egg. What do you think? Maybe today?

Sadly, the poor weather might be impacting Dad’s ability to bring in prey to the two babies in the Ironbark Tree. Until now, there has been little to no demonstrations of dominance but yesterday the prey diminished and WBSE 27 started telling the little one who is boss. It is unclear if WBSE 28 had any of the morning fish. WBSE 27 is 26 days old today and WBSE 28 is 24 days old. Oh, I hope this stops. There is enough for everyone! Most people say that the parents will not step in. And, as you know, if I hear survival of the fittest one more time I might scream loud enough for someone to hear me in Australia! All you have to do is to think about Tiny Tot on the Achieva Nest or Tiny Little — those tortured little ones turned out to be a force to be reckoned with. I wish Tiny Tot had a tag and a satellite transmitter. I sure would like to see what she is doing in a couple of years. If there are two Ospreys that will survive it is those two. And they started out like WBSE 28. Of course, only worse for Tiny Tot.

Mom was looking particularly beautiful over in the Port Lincoln Osprey Nest. The colour of the water contrasted with the nest lining — well, it is gorgeous.

The female at Collins Street in Melbourne certainly looks like she is going to lay her second egg today. She is getting full in the bottom just like Diamond. She is certainly plunked down in that scrape box with that stern look she can give. It must be quite uncomfortable laying eggs!

I don’t do a lot of reporting on the Albatross despite the fact that not only am I fond of them but I really want our oceans to be cleaned up and the fish stocks renewed so that all of the sea birds are promised some kind of a decent life. Sharon Dunne does a great job running the FB group as well as keeping us abreast of everything ‘Tiaki’, the Royal cam chick of the 2021 year.

Ms Pippa Atawhai was just the cutest little albatross chick and her parents were incredible. She was the 2020 Royal Cam Chick. Her nest was close to the visitor’s centre. Tiaki’s nest is down close to other nests. Some are less than 3 metres away. This has led to a lot of ‘drama’ between the chicks! Seriously. I thought it was only the juveniles that caused mischief. Oh, no. These gals can seriously get with the squabbling.

The Cornell Bird Lab caught that on camera today. Have a look:

It reminds me of my garden. Before I seriously started watching birds and their behaviour, it seemed they all got along and lived in some kind of sing song happy land. Oh, geez. There is even a hierarchy in our garden! Incredible. Have you noticed this behaviour at your feeders? Is this why we say ‘Pecking Order’?

This was a quick check in. I am restless – not knowing for sure if Malin is alive or dead or nothing can be determined. But I want to leave you with an uplifting story and a lesson. Yesterday I reported on the Osprey that had been hanging upside down in a tree for two days because of being entangled in fishing line. The beautiful bird had pulled all of its muscles from being upside down. The bird, at 45 feet, was ten feet more than the climber could reach so he used an extension net and a pole saw to cut the line and catch the bird in one swoop. On the ground the bird was detangled from the line. A stainless steel treble hook – for catching 3 fish at once – had gone through the talons of this baby. Today, this young one is healing. The lesson is ——- clean up after you go fishing. Join in groups to clear the shores of rivers and lakes of fishing debris that gets caught in them. Help our water birds!

I took these screen shots from A Place Called Hope’s FB page. They have a wonderful video on their site of this rescue and I urge you to search FB, find their home page, and watch it. It is very moving. What wonderful people these people are – there is not a situation too challenging and if a bird can be saved, A Place Called Hope will give it that chance.

Thank you for joining me today. I am certain that Collins Street will have another egg tomorrow and well, Diamond might have one as well. Take care everyone. Stay safe.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams: Sea Eagle Cam, Birdlife Australia and the Discovery Centre, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Cornell Bird Lab, The Falcon Project with Cilla Kinross and Charles Sturt University, the Port Lincoln Osprey Project, and A Place Called Hope FB page.

Sadly, no word about Malin

I want to thank everyone that took the time to write to me and tell me how much Malin meant to them. My inbox was overflowing with letters expressing love and concern for Malin. Everyone wanted to know if there had been any word. Mom and Dad have both been on the nest with fish and today Marsha (mum) was there around 13:00. She did not have any fish that visit. During her morning visit she called out for Malin. So far there has been no sighting of Malin.

After going through the FB postings of the Nature Center, we were able to determine that Malin was the middle hatch. The youngest just disappeared from the nest and the eldest died in the middle of June leaving Malin, the chick that hatched on 18 June, alive. Malin was then the middle hatch of 18 June. Malin then was 63 days old at fledge. The average age for ospreys to fledge in Wisconsin appears to be 55 days. That would make Malin’s timing within range. Most ospreys spend at least 2 weeks flying and letting their parents feed them. Many stay much longer. Two examples that I give are Tiny Tot and Tiny Little because they were both hatches that suffered from lack of food. Tiny Tot stayed on the nest for a total of four months or 120 days. That is more than twice as long as Malin. Tiny Little remains on the nest in Cumbria. She will probably fledge before Tiny Tot’s 120 days – but she could be on the nest for 90 days.

There is disagreement over whether Malin simply flew or whether or not Malin was frightened off the nest by an intruder. Experts on both sides see that exit differently. It is unfortunate. The result is the same – Malin has not returned to the nest. The reactions to looking for Malin are different depending on which you believe. If Malin just flew because he wanted to then no one would go and really look for him. If one believed that Malin was frightened off the nest, they might worry that he was injured and look harder. Something that has to be kept in mind is that Osprey feed their fledglings on the nest – it is preferable. They do sometimes feed on a branch but I haven’t found an Osprey expert that has ever seen an Osprey parent feed their fledgling on the ground. In fact, if a fish falls off a nest they will not go and retrieve it. Have you ever seen an Osprey eat or feed its chick on the ground?

The research continues to stress that the more food and the longer fledglings stay on the nest the higher the success rate. That is the reality. This nest is really empty. Malin defied the odds – he survived and thrived. We hope that the name we gave him carries him on into his life and that he is somewhere safe eating a fish.

Collins is looking down like he might be seeing Malin.

One of the last times the entire family was together on the nest. It was a real privilege to watch little Malin survive and then – thrive. Let us all continue to send this family positive energy.

19 August 2021. Malin, Marsha, and Collins.

It is about 7am in Latvia and Estonia as I write this. The Black Storklings are waking up and like all birds are a little more energetic than they are at mid-day.

The two images below are from Grafs and Grafiene’s nest near Sigulda, Latvia. At least one of the storklets has fledged. Perhaps today they will all fledge and find the feeder area with the beautiful Grafiene decoy.

It is now just after 9am in Latvia and there is only one storkling on Graf’s nest near Sigulda. This means two have fledged just like my source had indicated. The second fledge is the oldest at 7:43 am. He is 70 days old today. The youngest fledged at day 66 after hatch.

This was not the smooth flight of the youngest. The oldest hit the branch on the other side of the tree. There is concern about the condition of that wing. I will update you as soon as there is any information. Send your strong and positive wishes. I hope it looks worse than it was. How terrifying for this young bird to have that happen.

Even so, I hope that both of the storklings are at the feeder filling themselves with fish – just like we hope Malin is doing the same.

There is now only the middle hatch. Perhaps it will go today. They are 68 days old.

When I checked on Jan and Janika’s storklings in Estonia’s Jogeva County, no more fish have been delivered to the nest. It looks to me like every scrap of the old fish has been eaten – I thought that yesterday. Perhaps one really packed down in the nest is there, the one the storkling on the left is pecking at. All of the birds need food.

Hopefully all of them will fledge and find the feeder set up for them, too.

They are so beautiful with the sunlight filtering through the trees. The storks are 67 and 68 days old today. The average for fledging is 68-72 days. I wonder if Urmas will deliver some more fish?????

Do you watch the peregrine falcons, Xavier and Diamond? If you do, then you will know that part of the pair bonding ritual is Xavier presenting a prey item to Diamond. Diamond is not that particular but, she does not like Starlings. She cannot stand them. She has turned Xavier away when he had a Starling for her. They must taste terrible!

Well, today, Xavier hit the jackpot. Diamond was completely excited about her lunch – although some of you might not be. Xavier had a Superb Parrot for his beautiful Diamond. Make sure your sound is turned up.

Superb Parrots are also known as Green Leek Parrots or the Barraband’s Parakeet. These little beauties are native to southeast Australia living in the dry woodlands of New South Wales and Victoria. They were once considered vulnerable in terms of conservation and have been listed as Least Concern since 2012. Loss of habitation due to timber logging might well see this bird back as being vulnerable.

They are medium sized, growing up to a little over 15 cm or 16 inches in length. The bird in the image below is a juvenile. How do I know that? It has brown eyes while the adults have yellow-orange eyes. The adult male has a bright yellow face and throat while the female looks like the plumage that the juvenile has below. They eat fruits, berries, insects, as well as grains and nuts.

Awww. What a sweet face.

WBSE 27 and 28 continue to charm the socks off of everyone. That beautiful fluffy white down is in transition. They look a little like old terry cloth towels sleeping in their nest this morning in Sydney.

Look closely along the edge of the wing of WBSE 28 on the left. You will see the little pin feathers coming.

The pantaloons are growing too.

Just look at that sweet baby, WBSE 28, looking up at its parent. How adorable.

They are so young and yet, both of them know to pancake when there is an intruder near the nest. They hear their parents alarming and down they go. Look at the concern shown in the eye of WBSE 27 on the left. You can also see the black pin feathers coming in on both in this image better than the other one. But look – their cute little tails are growing!

You cam almost see them growing right before your very eyes.

Tiny Little still makes my heart skip a beat. Oh, what a wonderful bird you have turned out to be. You were so very tiny with that big older siblings but just look at you waiting for your breakfast to arrive.

Oh, you have that ferocious look like Mrs G. I have said that a couple of times but you do, Tiny Little. I hope you live as long as Mrs G and have lots of successful hatches. You really are quite amazing, Tiny Little.

Tomorrow is Saturday but there is no Ferris Akel tour this week. I was hoping to catch up with what is happening with Big Red and her family. It was raining yesterday but the Hornings were able to spot all four of them so we know that K1 and K3 are still with us – how grand, the 21st of August.

I am researching ‘Climate Driven Evolutionary Change’. If you know of bird arrivals or departures that are earlier than normal or later than what has been the norm, please let me know. It is much appreciated.

It is so nice to have you here with me. The rain is still falling – and that is a good thing. Please continue to send your positive wishes to Malin and all the bird families. Take care of yourselves. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots and video clip: The Falconcam Project at Charles Sturt University and Cilla Kinross. Collins Marsh Osprey Nest, Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Cam, The Eagle Club of Estonia, The Latvian Fund for Nature, and the Sea Eagles Cam, Birdlife Australia, and The Discovery Centre.

A Cracker of a Day for Malin

Oh, it’s a cracker of a day! We know that the Sharp-shinned Hawk that comes to our garden is here often but since the extreme head we had not seen him. He flipped around on the lines bringing the Internet into the house and then in a blink was in the lilac bushes. He stayed there for about ten minutes and out he flew between the houses heading north. No chance for a photo but I tried! We feed approximately 300 urban birds a day – yes, you read that right. I never grieve over the single sparrow that Sharpie is sometimes able to catch. He has to eat, too.

Sharpie is an aberration according to Cornell Bird Labs. He should not be living on the Canadian Prairies in the winter but he does! He is a year round resident. It was his mate – in January 2017 – that changed my life. It is so good to see him.

Malin is such a sweetheart. He has the sweetest face. It has been a good day for Malin, too.

Last night, Malin slept on a piece of fish about the size of the one in front and to the right of him. There was also a small Bullhead on the nest last night. Malin woke up and ate the fish he was sleeping on. Mom arrived and shared the Bullhead with him. On top of those two, Malin had four other deliveries today. A total of 6 fish! His crop is about to pop. We have never seen this Osprey chick this full. I wonder if he will use this fish as a pillow? save it for breakfast? or finish it off a little later? He is one lucky little Osprey today.

Those pesky little sea eagles will have several good feeds today, too!

WBSE 27 is the one on the left and cutie pie WBSE 28 is on the right.

There is still a tiny bit of egg tooth left but it is disappearing quickly. If you look closely under that soft down are there little pin feathers growing?

WBSE 27 hatched on 29 July and WBSE 28 hatched on 31 July. Today, they are 17 and 15 days old. This is the end of week 2 going into week 3.

  • Week 2: The wee ones are covered all in white down. Their beak is starting to grow longer but the egg tooth (the white dot) is still visible.
  • Week 3: We should be seeing the bill and the eyes enlarged but still the white down. The chicks are now doubled in size from when they hatched. They are looking around and noticing things.
  • Week 4: Those pin feathers I wondered about are starting to show on the wings. You will see them begin to preen their feathers and they should be moving around the nest picking up sticks and leaves. They will also be resting on their tarsus assisted by their wings for balance. The tarsus is the part of the leg from the top of the foot to the knee.

Ah, so sweet when they are asleep and growing!

The day is yet to begin in Latvia and Estonia. We wish that those beautiful Black Storklings get lots of fish today.

Thank you so much for joining me for this quick update on Malin. We are so pleased that Malin has had lots of fish today. He is getting so big and no doubt the more he eats the stronger the little one will get for fledge. The featured image is our little cute Malin. Take care. See you soon.

Thanks to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Collins Marsh Nature Centre and Sea Eagles, Birdlife Australia, and The Discovery Centre.

Monday in Bird World

There is some sad news coming in from the Kakapo Recovery. During routine checks, Tutu was found dead. He hatched in 2019 and the team says he was quite ‘the character’. This brings the total population of Kakapo in the entire world to 201.

Photo of Tutu @ Petrus Hedman Kakapo Recovery FB

The news coming in is not all bad but, it could be a lot better. I reported that Grafs had provided two feedings for the Black Storklings on the nest near Sigulda. As it turns out, after I posted my newsletter, Grafs returned two ore times making a total of four feedings on 15 August. The team are hoping that Grafs will find the feeding table. If Grafs does and accepts the food, this nest could turn around quickly! At the present time the storklings are in a critical condition.

This is the news from Janis Kuze:

“I can report that fish were let into the feeder last night, the place is a few hundred meters from the nest and is easy to see from the air, but the bird still has to find it.
Thanks to everyone who provided support!”
Jānis Ķuze

Grafs arrived with some larger fish for the storklings at 14:47. He has yet to find the feeding table. Some are thinking that it might not be in his territory. There is a discussion about putting a decoy black stork to attract Grafs.

A feeding table has also been set up for the Estonian Black storklings of Jan and Janika. I understand a decoy – a White Stork decoy painted black – is at that table to try and lure the male to the fish for the storklings.

Yesterday I said that the storklings had eaten all of the fish. That was incorrect. They have been stomped into a pile but the Estonian storklings are still eating from them today and they have had a feeding from Jan. You can see the remaining fish today on the back left of the nest. Thankfully the nestlings are eating from them. If you look at their bills they are still a dull colour which is good. They are also not getting stress lines in their feathers like the storklings of Grafs. Stress lines are translucent feathers caused by all manner of stresses not just lack of food. Regular growth in feathers is not translucent.

Here is the link to the streaming cam of the Black Storklings in Latvia:

Here is the link to the streaming cam of the Black Storks in Estonia:

If you want to keep up to the minute with what is happening at either or both of these nests, please look under the information of each streaming cam. You will find the link to the English forums.

Please be mindful that these are extremely difficult times for the moderators and helpers on the chats and the forums. These two nests showed great promise – the best – and as I have said many times — the fate of our birds hangs on a fragile piece of thin thread. It can change any moment. The biologists and vets are doing everything possible. We need for the male storks to find the fish tables. Send your warm thoughts to all. The little ones need a miracle.

UPDATE: It appears that Jan has found the fish table. He has flown in and brought 2 very large fish to the nest in Estonia. There are also fish left there from the bander! Great news. Let us hope this continues and now we just need Grafs to find the fish.

And now on to some rather silly news. Blue 462 at the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest in Cumbria, got the breakfast fish. And, of course….Tiny Little was right there making sure her big sibling could not eat in peace. Tiny Little is giving them back what they gave to her as a youngster in the nest!

Tiny Little loves moving around the sticks. It is really disturbing to the one who is trying to eat.

One of the cameras got knocked but what it did was give us a nice close up of all those sticks Tiny Littles moves and returns, moves and returns.

There were others wanting some of that fish – those pesky crows who seem to be around, too.

Tiny Little kept running at the crows to get them to go away but finally, it was 462 that flew away leaving Tiny Little that great big fish all to herself. Do you think Tiny has enlisted the crows to help her? with the promise she will leave some food? Normally, Tiny Little is like a vacuum cleaner removing every piece of fish!!

In the image below, 462 has just flown off the nest. Tiny Little is moving towards that big fish she is going to have for breakfast.

Tiny Little spends some time making sure the siblings and the crows are not going to bother her. At one time or another the crows were climbing and flying around that part of the nest. But never mind. Tiny Little started 16 August off with a nice big crop. Well done Tiny Little.

It’s now 17:30ish on the Foulshaw Moss nest and Tiny Little is there calling White YW for food along with another sibling. It looks like 464 to me but I cannot catch the band number. Tiny Little is the fledgling at the back.

Tiny Little is such a character. She is one of the good news stories of the year for sure! I really hope that when she returns to raise her family it is on one of the nests with a streaming cam.

Do you recognize this view?

That is the scrape box for the Collins Street Falcons in Melbourne! and the YouTube channel is up and running. This is fantastic news to all of us that have waited to see this couple and their eyases again. Dad is just the cutest.

Both parents are working on the scrape box. That is mom in the image below.

Here is the link so you can be in on the action from the very beginning:

It doesn’t get any cuter nor any happier than the little sea eaglets in the nest on the old Ironbark Tree in Sydney’s Olympic Park.

Both of them are thriving! That is 27 facing us with its big crop and 28 is still eating.

Yesterday, Malin went to sleep with his head on a fish and another whole Bullhead on the left side of the nest. He woke up this morning and finished off the “pillow fish” and Marsha flew in and fed him and ate a lot of the Bullhead herself.

Malin has a nice big crop! Mom is getting some fish and that catch did not go to waste. And that is a good thing.

Thank you so much for joining me today. This newsletter comes about six hours earlier than I expected. It is nearly 100 degrees F on the Canadian Prairies and the birds are in hiding. No photography until later. I will continue to monitor the two Black Stork nests and bring updates. Send your prayers and your warm wishes to those two Black Stork nests. They need a miracle to get the males to accept the fish! Bukacek did so we need Grafs and Jan to do the same!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or their FB pages where I took my screen shots: The Kakapo Recovery FB, Collins Marsh Nature Centre Osprey Cam, Sydney Sea Eagles, Birdlife Australia, and The Discovery Centre, Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest, 367 Collins Falcons, The Eagle Club of Estonia and The Latvian Fund for Nature.