Oh, Bazza Baby

The Port Lincoln Lads seem to always be up to something. This morning Falky was flying about and Bazza and Ervie were on the nest. They had to have been full because there was a lovely fish tail on the nest and neither one of them were paying any attention to it.

It was very windy and Bazza entertained Ervie for about half an hour trying to land and stay on the perch. Have a look.

Are you finding that sometimes you could just use a little bit of ‘cute’ as we wait for new bobble heads in the raptor families to be born? What about a Korora?

They used to be called Little Blue Penguins. They are the smallest of the New Zealand penguins. This little one will weigh about 1 kg and be about 25 cm tall when it is fully grown. Their population is in decline due to dog, cat, stoat, and ferret kills. This group of predators has arisen because of the destruction of the penguin’s natural nesting sites for development. Sad.

And I want to give a shout out to ‘TAS’ for introducing me to this cute little non-raptor!

WBSE 27 has been observed being hounded by the Pied Currawong. This report comes from Cathy Cook on the ground:

As is usual in the Reserve, SE27 found herself being escorted & swooped by Noisy Miners, Magpies, Currawongs and Ravens, from the time she hopped out of the carrier. We saw her take 4 seperate flights, with her finally being observed (by credible people in the wharf cafe) to cross over the Parramatta River, just a little west of River Roost. The last picture shows SE27’s individual flights within the first 40 minutes after her release — at Newington Nature Reserve, Sydney Olympic Park.

Cathy posted pictures and a short video. I hope she does not mind my including one for you.

@ Cathy Cook

The saddest part about being a juvenile Sea Eagle is that for the rest of his life, 27 will be hounded by the smaller birds who, as you already know, are very effective in driving the juveniles out of the forest. I hope that Lady and Dad return to the River Roost on the Parramatta River to find 27 so they can feed her.

For all of you celebrating Thanksgiving with your friends, families and/or other loved ones in the USA, have a wonderful day. For those in Canada who celebrated in October, tomorrow is just another day. Take care. Always be thankful. See you soon.

Thank you to the Port Lincoln Osprey Project for its streaming cam where I video captured Bazza and to the Sea Eagles FB Page and Cathy Cook for the update on WBSE 27.

Port Lincoln Lads

It was really difficult to keep up with the number of fish coming on the Port Lincoln Osprey nest yesterday but, everyone got something to eat. It does not appear that any of the brothers were left out and some, if not all, had two fish.

The winds picked up and the lads were all hunkered down at 18:57:22. It is often hard to tell what the weather is like just looking at the screen but it sure appears to be windy and later on the boys have some rain drops on their wings.

Dad is still out fishing for them. Ervie got the next fish delivery after being hunkered down. He was eating it at 19:49:37. Falky is hungry! Bazza is just watching.

Dad flew in with another fish at 20:22 and Falky got that one. So all the lads went to bed with some fish in their tummies. Dad, you are really amazing.

Bazza had a really nice fish at 14:03:54. He sure had to defend it. Ervie came flying in and the pair had a very short brotherly tussle but, Bazza maintained control. Good for you, Bazza!

It might have looked horrible watching it, these three have been so polite to one another. They may never have the competition for food some regions have but it is good to be able to protect your ‘fish’ and Bazza did a great job handling Ervie.

Bazza enjoying his fish in peace.

Today might just be the day that Bazza joins the skies with his brothers. I wish there were cameras all around the barge to watch them flying and having fun with one another!

The Audubon Society posted an interesting picture of an Osprey named Smedley. Some of you might know the story of Smedley. I didn’t and it is quite heart warming. Smedley fell out of his nest in 1998 and injured himself to the point that he would never be able to be released into the wild. He could not fly. He has remained at the Audubon Centre for Birds and Prey – count it – 23 years! His wing injury began to bother him and a sling was constructed so that he could move about comfortably.

There he is with his sling. What a wonderful story. Just heart warming. If you travel to the Audubon Centre for Birds of Prey in Maitland, Florida you might see Smedley. It is near Orlando.

One of the reasons this is such a heart-warming story is that many Osprey do not do well in care. Smedley is certainly the exception and maybe a look back at what – in particular – the rehabbers did when he arrived could help improve the success rate of Ospreys going into care now.

The Bald Eagles continue to work on their nests. Harriet was hit very hard by the GHOW that has a nest near to hers and M15s’ in Fort Myers. This was a growing problem last year with both the adults and the eaglets. Yurruga continues to grow and develop her self-feeding. She is adorable. There is no news on WBSE 27’s release. One of my eagle friends tells me that the GHOWs have been to visit the nest in Farmer Derek’s field but there is a problem – the raccoons have dug a hole in thee nest. She suggests that he get a raccoon baffle – great idea! Funny thing. We all loved watching those owls hatch and grow but my goodness they can kill everything in sight – and do.

Take care everyone. If I see Bazza fledge I will let you know. If I miss it – let me know. Thank you for joining me today.

Thank you to Port Lincoln Osprey Project for their streaming cam where I took my screen captures and to the FB page of the Audubon Centre for Birds of Prey where I grabbed that image of Smedley.

WBSE 27 update

The last update that we had on White-Belled Sea Eagle fledgling 27 was on 5 November. That was a week ago and despite the fact that it was not that many days, it was easy to get restless waiting for some news. I am delighted to bring you some really good news.

Here is the posting:

“An update on the progress of SE27 in care “The Sea Eagle is doing very well under veterinary care and will soon be released back into the wild in Newington Nature Reserve. It has been identified as a male. He is eating well and strengthening his wings in a flight aviary. “

Oh, we just needed some good news. This is fantastic. Others were out and about today and there is still no sighting of WBSE 28.

YRK lays her egg at Taiaroa

It is still the middle of the night in Australia and New Zealand so not a lot is happening in Bird World.

The rangers at Taiaroa Head in NZ shocked everyone when they announced that OGK’s mate, YRK, laid her egg yesterday. She obviously snuck in and visited with OGK and no one saw her. Chris McCormack shared an image of OGK and YRK at the nest OGK prepared down the hill from where Atawhai hatched. This was on the Royal Cam Albatross FB Page. Thanks, Chris. This will be the couple’s 8th breeding attempt. As most of you know, they were the parents of the Royal Cam chick in 2020.

For all Royal Albatross fans, the rangers also announced that 111 birds are on the island and 15 eggs have been laid. Eggs take approximately two months to hatch.

There are still two Peregrine Falcon chicks to fledge at 367 Collins Street in Melbourne. The first fledged at 06:34 on 8 November and the second at 07:46 on 9 November. Take note that those are early morning times. Falcons typically fledge in the early morning or early evening but not normally during mid-day.

The adults have brought prey onto the ledge for these two. In fact, the parents will continue to provide food to all four of their chicks until the chick makes its ‘first kill’. These two could fledge at any moment.

What you are looking at below, is an image of Bazza (Red band) looking enviously at the empty talons of Ervie (Dk Green band). Ervie managed to take the fish tale from Falky (yellow band) and didn’t share a scrap. Bazza was hoping there would be some left. No. Never. Fish tails must be very special – everyone wants them!

There’s Ervie eating that precious tail. Awwww. It is nice to know that having that sat-pak has not changed Little Bob at all!

I am a raptor person but so many enjoy watching the feeders for the Boreal birds. There is one that is just up and running, sponsored by Cornell. It is located in Northwestern Ontario. Here is the link if you would like to check it out.

Last but not least, those pesky Spotted Eagle owlets in Joburg. Yesterday there was only one owlet left in the nesting box. The adoptee and one of the resident owlets are both wandering around in the garden of the owner. Mum, in the meantime, is having to feed the one inside the box and then go and feed the other two. She is busy! Here is a short video of the one in the box. It is really watching its siblings and well, who knows, it could be down there any minute!

It is 17:35, still day light, and the little one is still in the box.

This is just a quick check. There have been no updates on the satellite trackers of Karl II, Udu, and Pikne, the Black Stork family from the Karula Forest in Estonia. It is hoped that they are out of range and enjoying their winter vacation. If so, we will have to wait until next spring to find out if they are alright. There is also no update on WBSE 27. The last one was 5 November. There is, however, going to be a webinar where Ranger Judy talks about her work with the WBSE as well as other guests. It is later in November. If you are interested in joining in, check out this link and follow the instructions.

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: EcoSolutions, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac and to Royal Cam Albatross FB Page and Chris McCormack for the image of OGK and YRK.

Monday in Bird World

One of the most wonderful things about the time I spent teaching university classes is the students you meet. Often you get to see them grow up from being first years to graduating and, at other times, you are lucky enough to follow them through adulthood. I often think I was so blessed as I continue to stay in contact with so many watching their extraordinary lives unfold. One of those students is an artist living in northern Manitoba who treated me to a late Halloween treat – images of the Northern lights or the Aurora Borealis from where she lives in Northern Manitoba. These colourful dancing lights are energized particles from the sun slamming into our atmosphere. They say that this happens at 72 million kmh (or 45 million mph). My mind cannot even comprehend how fast that is. When this happens, Earth’s magnetic field redirects those same particles toward the North Pole. That redirection is what causes the Aurora Borealis. I would like to share them with all of you.

Aren’t these incredible? When my children were little, living on the acreage in southern Manitoba, you could look out over the flat landscape of the prairies and see them so clearly.

Oh, what a wonderful treat. Thank you!

The moderators on the chat at the scrape box of Diamond and Xavier have confirmed that Diamond was also limping and had a droopy wing the day that she was away from Yarruga for ten hours. She appears to be getting better. Yesterday little Yarruga was so hungry. Yarruga is definitely as loud as big brother, Izzi. If we ever worried, right after hatch, that Yarruga might have trouble feeding, we do not have to anymore. Here is a clip of Yarruga trying to take the prey and self-feed! Yarruga is 3 weeks old. S/he is going to be a formidable falcon.

Xavier is doing all of the hunting. This morning Diamond fed Yarruga early.

The sun is casting a golden glow on the trio of the Port Lincoln Osprey barge. It has been confirmed that they will definitely be ringed, named, and at least one of them will receive a sat-pak on either 8 or 9 November. When I hear the precise time I will let you know. Last year PLO posted a video of everything later. I do hope they will do that again this year.

I am also told that the two chicks at Thistle Island are a bit younger than the PLO trio. I am so selfishly hoping that Little Bob gets a tracker.

There is going to be a live-streamed Condor release tomorrow. The Zoom event will start at 9:30 am Pacific time (that is 11:30 CDT) with the release pen opening at 10 am PT or 12 noon CDT. Every year young condors are released into the wild on the Central Coast of California. This year they will release six which includes #1031 Iniko, the daughter of Kingpin and Redwood Queen, who survived the Dolan fire. Iniko will be released on 4 December but three other birds will be released tomorrow. If you would like to watch this event – and any release into the wild of a condor is fantastic – then you need to sign up. Here is the link to do that:

https://www.ventanaws.org/zoom-chats.html

If you would like to watch the live-streaming condor cams, here is the link to the Ventana Wildlife Society where you can locate the camera you want:

https://www.ventanaws.org/condor_cam.html

I am so very grateful for these Zoom events. It is one of the good things to come out of the pandemic. I hope that every group continues using them so that those of us far away can join in.

A report on the Ospreys in Finland has been published. It is in Finnish but you can cut and paste and use Google Translate. There are a few images of the nests, etc. They are lovely. Here is that link as I know that some of you watch the Finnish Osprey nests faithfully.

http://128.214.237.21/sites/default/files/files/linnut_vk2020_086-093_saakset_artikkelit_10293.pdf?fbclid=IwAR2HZ8k187x2tvZvT0UfesEMjKgQyZQ2WpxcJDJpycQsmlAFuzeckF6IoXg

There have been images of a pair of Ospreys on the Achieva nest in St Petersburg, Florida. At this point, I cannot confirm they are Jack and Diane. They certainly could be but as one loyal watcher has said, “They do not behave like Jack and Diane.” There is time yet. Last year eggs hatched the first week of March which means they were laid the end of January/early February. If they are not Jack and Diane, Jack will surely run them out of town!

The only confirmation on WBSE 27 is the following from yesterday:

We all hope that WBSE 27 will be kept until it is completely healed and flying well so that it can be released with some hope that it will be able to survive. What a beautiful bird. Those Pied Currawongs are quite dangerous. It is not always safe to be the juvenile of the Apex Raptor on the block! Get well soon WBSE 27.

There have been no new transmissions from Karl II, Udu, or Pikne. It is assumed that Karl II has reached his wintering grounds in the Sudan since his last GPS showed that he had arrived there safely. Pikne was along the waters of the Red Sea. There are real worries for little Udu. He crossed the Mediterranean Sea which would have been exhausting. He will need food and water. His last location was an oasis but they use hot sulphur water for the crops and this is not good for Udu. It is hoped that he made it to the Nile River. Send positive energy to him and also to WBSE 27.

Thank you so much for joining me today. Everyone is fine. You cannot see the Collins Street Four unless they are running down the gutter but they are doing well. More down is being shedded off those wings every hour. Take care all. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots and video clips: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam at Orange and Cilla Kinross, Eagle Club of Estonia Forum, and for the FB Page of the Sea Eagle Cam@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre for the image and announcement about WBSE 27.

Good News in Bird World

There is a lot to celebrate in Bird World this evening. Everyone on the Taiaroa Peninsula and perhaps the whole of New Zealand are celebrating the arrival of the 2021 Royal Albatross Cam Princess, Tiaki, at the feeding grounds just 70 km off the coast of Chile – safely! This really is amazing. As was pointed out on the Royal Albatross FB page, this young bird fledged on 25 September and arrived in the waters off the coast of Chile, 8500 km away, in 35 days. Incredible. Congratulations!

For those watching the return of the Royal Albatross to Taiaroa Head for the upcoming breeding season, OGK has flown off the peninsula to feed. He continues to wait for his mate, YRK. I have asked and been told that OGK is not the only male still waiting for its mate. That gives me some hope that this adorable couple will still be reunited. They were the parents of last year’s Royal cam princess, Pippa Atawhai.

There has been no new tracking data for Karl II but, on the 28th of October, he had reached Umm Harazat in the Sudan close to where he winters. Udu was at the Farafa Oasis in Egypt on the same day and Pikne was along the Red Sea. I expect that Udu and Pikne could be further into Africa by the time the next transmission comes in.

The Farafa Oasis is an area known as the White Desert.

Udu made a splendid flight across the Mediterranean Sea. The White Desert is home to a number of wells and there is farming in the area. It is most know for its white rock figures.

Pikne’s position:

Karl II’s position:

Moving away from the migrating birds back to Australia, little Yurruga took some big steps today. What a sweet little falcon! Here is a short clip I made of this momentous event.

Yesterday, Dad fed the 367 Collins Street Four in an area that could be viewed easily. There are, of course, concerns that the falcons will fledge from the end where there is no camera view. The owners of the cameras have stated that they will not change the direction of the camera again as it is too disturbing for the birds. That is quite understandable at this stage. No one wants to frighten these lovely eyases and have them fly and fall to their doom. And there is no telling which end of the ledge they will fledge. We just simply wait. They are so strong and healthy. Mum and Dad have been heroic in their efforts to sustain them. So please keep feeding the pigeons in Melbourne – our falcons need them!

There has been no word from the vet team about the condition of WBSE 27 since it was attacked by the Pied Currawong and found on pavement near to the Sydney Olympic Forest.

The Sydney Sea Eagle Cam FB page had originally posted WBSE 27 on the pavement unconscious. This disturbed some people so it was replaced with the image below. I have said that no news is good news but this has been several days since the incident. Send all the positive energy to this beautiful bird that you can!

There is good news at the Kakapo Recovery. The team has discovered that the eggs that are laid but do not hatch are not always infertile. Since the beginning of trying to help the Kakapo to recover numbers, it was always believed that the eggs were simply infertile and that is why there was no chick to hatch. The chicks are dying at an early stage. If they can figure out what is the cause, they might be able to assist these lovely non-flying parrots to have more successful hatches. Here is the posting on the Kakapo Recovery FB page. It talks about their efforts with the University of Sheffield to understand the issue and be able to have more live births of this critically endangered bird. Bravo!

The ospreys on the PLO barge are doing great. Little Bob is 45 days old today. Fledging is coming soon. Oh, how I am going to miss this wonderful trio. They have delighted hundreds and hundreds of people this season. Pure joy!

Look at Little Bob showing off! Besides loving to eat Little Bob really does like to give those wing muscles a go. I don’t think Big Bob is very amused.

In the image below, from left to right: Middle Bob (2), Little Bob (3), and Big Bob (1). If I were to have to base a guess on their gender due to the legs, I am afraid that I would have to change my prediction.

Middle Bob’s legs are definitely shorter and stockier than either Little Bob or Big Bob. Big Bob’s legs look like those of a male. That leaves us with Little Bob that I continue to believe is a female. Oh, I cannot wait for those measurements. They are not 100% certain but, perhaps, they will also do DNA testing on the three when they ring them!

Little Bob gives its two older siblings a big hug.

There is Little Bob looking off to the left after the morning breakfast. Three gorgeous nestlings. Ringing, naming, and measuring will take place the week of 8 November. I will keep you posted to the more exact date when I find out.

Thank you so much for joining me today. I hope that you are all well. Take care!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots, video clips, and maps: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam at Orange and Cilla Kinross, Birdmap, Kakapo Recovery FP Page, Wikimedia Commons, and Wildlife Computers.

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.