Early Monday in Bird World

31 October 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

I hope that each of you had a joyful weekend and your start to the week is showing promise.

Most Canadians are obsessed with the weather. We are also slightly superstitious. OK. Many of us are highly skeptical if it is too nice late into the fall. We fear that we will pay for it by having 5 months of -35 C with lots of deep snow. So everyone that was out today – again – in their shirt sleeves and runners with no socks hopes that there won’t be ‘a winter retaliation.’ It is seriously hard to believe. Families were having picnics! Some brought their lawn chairs to sit by the edge of the pond and take in the sun’s rays. One of the biggest delights was the fact that almost everyone said ‘hello’ to one another. Being outside really does make us happier!

The number of waterfowl is dwindling at all the city parks, however. Less than the people! Duck and geese counts today at our St Vital Park were 350+ Canada Geese, 7 Mallards, 5 Wood Ducks and 3 Ring-billed Gulls.

My photos are not the greatest. The light was ‘odd’ but, I did notice how clear the water is today compared to earlier in the year. I also noticed that the parks personnel (or a fairy) has cleared the island, the water, and the shore of human litter. It is nice!

The male Wood Duck blends in so nicely with the colour of the pond and the leaves.

So many were flapping their wings today in the water. It is impossible to see the face but I love the light going through the primaries of the wing.

Oh, these sweet little female Wood Ducks. They are so tiny and so adorable.

Notice how the plumage of the female Mallard is such good camouflage in the fall when all of those hunters are trying to lure them to the marshes and wetlands to shoot them. Oh, goodness. I have an immediate knee jerk reaction just thinking about it.

Every year Canada Geese replace all of their worn out feathers at once – this means that when they are molting they cannot fly at all. It also accounts for all of the feathers around the park in the summer. It is quite odd seeing them without any tail feathers. Canada Geese are not the only ones to do a complete moult. Townsend Warblers, after the breeding season is over but before the southern migration also replace all of their feathers.

Audubon has a short and to the point article on the basics of feather replacement if you are curious:

https://www.audubon.org/news/understanding-basics-bird-molts#:~:text=Townsend’s%20Warblers%2C%20for%20instance%2C%20go,wrap%20up%20the%20process%20there.

The water is low. The torrential spring rains flooded the island ruining all of the nests and the eggs. Many had second clutches but a large number of the ducks and geese moved northward away from the pond. You can see on the bottom of the totem pole how high those waters rose.

There were some late hatched Mallards. I could see 2 small ones today and I do not know what happened to the others. I did find my images from a few weeks ago of the two female Mallards with ‘Angel Wing’. They can swim and feed but they will never be free to fly. It was simply pure sadness that could have been avoided. The two were taken to the wildlife rehabilitation centre. They had to be euthanized. The cause is nutrient deficiency from feeding ducks bread.

Please feel free to use my picture of this beautiful creature whose life was cut short because she preferred eating bread instead of the pond plants. Ducks do not know bread is not healthy. It is junk food and it tastes good to them just like candy and chips taste good to humans.

Most people want to be good to the ducks and geese. They have no intention of harming them – they are feeding them to be kind. ‘Killing with Kindness’ – should be the next campaign slogan at the park ponds.

There were so many people walking yesterday at the pond. It was fantastic to see – young and old. There are many trails of varying lengths, some through the forest and others around the pond or the cricket pitch.

The Guardian had an interesting article on walking. Please read it. So many people I know think that unless they walk that magical 10,000 steps a day there is no benefit to them. This article points out that the use of that number was not medically driven but was part of a marketing campaign. Recent research has shown that 10 minutes of brisk walking a day is very beneficial. So forget all the fancy gadgets that you think you might need and just get moving! And if you can walk in an area where there are trees – and even better animals and birds – any stress that is sitting on your shoulders dissipates. The author of the article agrees:

“But as the contemporary American philosopher, Arnold Berleant, argues, it is when we’re actually moving through a landscape, rather than treating it simply as scenery, that we most fully connect with a place and ignite all our senses. Berleant uses the term “aesthetic engagement”, but it needn’t be quite so lofty: A walk along the river might count, or perhaps time spent practising shinrin-yoku (forest bathing), really attending to the details of the trees, the leaves, the smells and the sounds.’

Nature does cure our ills. It can be a profound sea change to our lives. Sit in the sand and listen to the ocean and the gulls. Close your eyes in a soccer field and absorb the honks of the geese flying overhead. It is very healing. And I want all of you (and myself) to live long and well with our feathered friends. If everyone understood how powerful walking in a forest and listening to birds can be in terms of changing our lives for the good, would we be so quick to cut down the trees with nests of the Bald Eagles, bulldoze another 64 acres of good agricultural or forest for houses that are big enough for 10 families but hold only a single couple?

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2022/oct/30/walk-nature-good-for-mind-body-soul

Well, I know that I am on my soapbox and ‘preaching to the choir’ because anyone reading my blog loves all of the birds – from the tiniest hummingbird to the largest raptor and all in between. We know they make us happy and heal our souls. We just need to spread the word!

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In the Mailbox:

Responses to the Alphabet Fun Game – make a list of the Alphabet and put the name of a bird from a streaming cam by as many letters as you can – are starting to come in. Thank you! I hope it was great fun! Remember to get yours in by midnight 2 November Central Time. Email is: maryasteggles@outlook.com

Making News:

Amur Falcons are being protected in three Indian States! Nets, catapults, guns, and air guns used to harm the beautiful raptors are being banned and confiscated. This is much welcome news.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/oct/31/indian-officials-ban-guns-airguns-and-catapults-to-safeguard-amur-falcons

The fast decline of many species is alarming. Sharon Dunne posted this in the Albatross group and I know that many of you will find this article both interesting and disturbing. The number of birds disappearing is frightening.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/cDTxh7HCCtKM6jM7pTnrl9/revealing-the-plight-of-the-antipodean-wandering-albatross?fbclid=IwAR1iQDVnQFSD8B-BG5YyIWu5L26l5T_0wghPUUQ63RFw4rITywDY61CXrzU

Eurasian Jays are showing how intelligent they are! Birds do not go for instant gratification showing higher intelligence. Many of us can attest to the intelligence levels of birds making decisions every day as we watch them meet the challenges that humans have given them. That said, this is a good read. As I write this my own Blue Jays are on the roof of the conservatory telling me the peanuts are all gone! They do not get peanuts at the weekend so Mondays are always a flurry.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/oct/31/eurasian-jays-show-ability-to-exert-self-control-study-finds

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/oct/31/eurasian-jays-show-ability-to-exert-self-control-study-finds

Do not forget to check nests during the off season. The Osprey nest at Mispillion Harbour in Delaware continues to amaze ‘H’ with its visitors. Bald Eagles have eaten fish on it, an immature Hen Harrier came to visit, a soaked Peregrine Falcon found the nest in a story, and today, a Turkey Vulture visited and cleaned up all the scraps. How grand. I love Turkey Vultures, and Condors, and Adjutant Storks. They are the vacuum cleaners of the natural world.

https://youtu.be/lJoXoCBxFoMhttps://youtu.be/lJoXoCBxFoMhttps://youtu.be/lJoXoCBxFoMhttps://youtu.be/lJoXoCBxFoM

Australian Nests:

As I write this, there have been three feedings at the Port Lincoln Osprey nest. They occurred at 0634, 0717, and 0815. Big got the vast majority of the fish but, Middle did eat. Mum has had little and she flew off the nest around 0834. It is now past noon and she has not returned. Dad delivered a large flat fish to the nest at 11;44:45. Dad flew off and then returned at 120438. I thought he was going to fly off with the fish but the osplets were prey calling so loud that he stopped and tried to feed them. He could not. He has left the fish on the nest with Big and Middle to their own devices. It is quite clear that these two cannot self-feed. Yes, they can hork down a fish tail but they are not capable of feeding themselves. They have nibbled at the open edge that Dad created.

I have to admit that I have a bit of a lump in my throat. I hope that Mum is catching a fish for herself and is eating it. She has had little to eat for a couple of days. At the same time my mind goes back to the two osplets on the Finnish nest whose Mum died of Trichomoniasis (a parasite that causes lesions and impacts the bird’s ability to eat, swallow, etc. The 4th hatch at Melbourne scrape died of this last year). I am not saying this Mum has that deadly disease (if not treated) – far from it. I am just saying that it reminds me of that nest with the two osplets. One could self feed but Boris could not and had a difficult time. They both survived to fledge – their dad dropping off fish at the nest and both of them – to various degrees – successfully. But…these two cannot feed themselves, yet. So what has happened to Mum?

 Dad has dropped off the fish but there is no one to feed Big or Middle. They both sniff around the fish.

Dad returns and watches his two chicks struggle. Middle is at his feet calling to be fed.

Dad decided to try and feed the two. He is not successful and leaves. — Many Osprey males feed their chicks. Some will also feed in tandem with the females when there is fear that a smaller chick will not get enough. Many of you will remember how Louis and Aila at the Loch Arkaig nests shared feeding duties in 2020 when there were three chicks with little Captain, JJ7, getting a private feeding. When this happens, everyone wins. The third hatch usually gets strong enough and time passes and it survives.

Dad returned and took the fish off the nest. This is interesting. The weather has turned really nasty. Did he take the fish off so that predators would not be attracted to the nest? or does he think they are not hungry? will he break the fish into pieces and return them? or is he as hungry as Mum and will eat the fish?

The weather has turned bad. Both Big and Middle are trying to find comfort together in the nest.

Oh, my gosh. Just about the time my heart has dropped to my little toe, Mum returns. She has the tail piece of the fish and it is 125445. Dad is there. I bet he is so happy to see her arrive! The kids are ravenous and, in particular, Middle. Let us hope he gets a good portion of this fish.

Middle got bites by doing his famous snatch and grab. This makes Big very upset if Big perceives that Middle is getting more fish than her.

Middle got a couple of bites at the beginning but he is clearly afraid of Big. It isn’t a huge piece of fish but, I am sure hoping that Middle gets some.

The key is – when Mum is feeding Big if she feeds slow he will get full sooner and there will be plenty left for Middle. You may have witnessed this happening at other nests. When she feeds Middle she has to feed him fast so he can get as much fish as possible within a short time.

Middle went to snatch and grab a bite and Big furiously attacked him. This is not good. Middle needs some food.

Middle waited – not long – til Big got situated and moved up. Mum made sure that he got some bites of fish. Not a huge amount like Big got but, Middle did get some fish. Regardless, he needs more, much more compared to Big.

Mum flew into the nest with the tail end of a fish. It should be presumed that she ate the front portion or part of it before returning to the nest. She, too, as noted many times, needs to eat. Hopefully when this bad weather system passes, more big fish will arrive. That is what this nest needs.

Big with her big crop and Middle flapping. I bet he will want off this nest as fast as his wings will carry him. Oh, I wish we could hire Ervie to teach his little brother to fish!!!!!!!!!!!! Ervie and Middle could trade stories about Big and Bazza. Maybe they could even invite Dad and sit down at the shed together leaving Mum and Big upstairs. Just imagine.

I continue to be very curious about the amount of fish that the tuna fishing fleets take out of these waters that are not tuna. What impact has this local commercial fishing had on the Ospreys?

I woke up very concerned as to whether or not Middle had any more fish at Port Lincoln. He really has not had enough to keep a sparrow alive and it is concerned. There is no way to check how he did. Perhaps some of you in Australia will know for the later time in the day as the live stream at Port Lincoln is down. It is to rain again and the winds are blowing at 31 kph.

Both of the Peregrine Falcon scraps have had at least one or more meals by the time I am writing this (1900 on the Canadian Prairies).

Indigo and Rubus are eating well. According to ‘A’ and the moderator, this is a recap so far of today’s feedings: RECAP: 4:20:36 D w/prey, eats, feeds 4:57:42; 6:42:14 X w/noisy miner, leaves with chicks; 8:36:12 D w/stubble quail/ feeds; 8:51:25 D takes NM; 9:41:51 X w/rosella, he feeds.

It is often some of the expressions that occur during these feedings that are so hilarious. Rubus just stretches and jumps to get his bites. Please note, I continue to say he/his because I really believe Rubus is a male. There are times when Indigo, who is so large and already declared a female, gets the Diamond look of seriousness in her eyes. Rubus never has that. He has long thin legs like he is trying out for a basketball team or long distance running. They are quite the characters.

Indigo, however, also gets frightened! We saw it with the Starling Head and again today when Rubus was trying to eat ‘Eggie’. My goodness. Here are some of the images from today at the scrape in Orange, enjoy.

Indigo stands and looks out the window of the scrape at the world beyond, just like Diamond.

Indigo protests loudly when Diamond shows up without breakfast!

Prey is left to see what Indigo and Rubus would do with it. It is a Noisy Miner.

That beautiful plumage is coming. You can see the peach on the feathers from various angles.

Indigo was really trying to get some more bits and bites out of Mum. But…look at that tail!

Look at Rubus’s eye. ‘What is up with you, sis?’

The stormy weather has reached Orange. There was lots of lightning and Diamond spent the night inside the scrape with Indigo and Rubus.

The Melbourne Four are eating fine. They are also losing most of that white soft down off their feathers. While we may not see the parents, one of them would normally be close by keeping an eye – perhaps up on another higher ledge. The amount of ‘ps’ and feathers tells it all!

Freshly plucked whole pigeon and consumed in a few minutes.

That is not an adult. That is one of the older eyases – I think the eldest. There is hardly any down left.

The Melbourne Four are fine.

Migration News:

In migration news, there is no word from Karl II or Kaia. They had both reached Africa. There is scant service where they winter and it is hoped that they are both enjoying themselves, feeding and replenishing their weight lost in migration. Bonus was last on the Island of Levbos. He appeared to be flying in the wrong direction but has righted himself and is back in Greece heading South. Little Waba is doing well and is in Egypt – ahead of Bonus.

Send your best wishes to all our nests including the Port Lincoln Osprey barge. Hang in there Middle. The weather will be better after Tuesday. Hoping for big fish to fall from the sky!

Thank you for being with me. Please take care everyone. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their posts, videos, and streaming cams where I took my screen captures: The Guardian, BBC Four and Sharon Dunne, HM, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, and 367 Collins Street by Mirvac.

Late Sunday in Bird World

23 October 2022

Hello Everyone,

I hope that each of you has had a fabulous weekend!

In my earlier blog today, I did not catch the ‘auto correct’ of Samson when I posted that him and Gabby were working on their nest. It is, of course, Samson not Damon!!!! Goodness.

The Sparrows thought it was warm enough for a bath today. And it is. It is a beautiful 14 degrees C – for me the absolute perfect temperature. It could stay like this forever and I would never get tired of it. They had such a good time! For well over an hour, one group after another spent time in the bird bath. They were so excited! I really do love sparrows…and I hope that those that think they will go extinct are wrong! And those that refuse to feed them because they are ‘not special’ will think again. They are so varied that I have a 8 cm thick book on them and still have trouble sometimes with Clay Sparrows and Vesper Sparrows — and I shouldn’t!

During the last month I have seen hundreds of Crows fly over my house around 1700. I did not know what they were doing until ‘N’ posted a YouTube video on Crows flying to join one another at a communal roost. It happens an hour before sunset. Thanks, ‘N’.

But, why did Crows get the moniker ‘Murder of Crows’? Apparently the use of the name goes back to 15th century English literature but, the Crow expert at Cornell University said the term is incorrect. ‘Scientists would call it a flock’. Indeed, Crows are often connected with death because they are black and because they eat carrion (dead animals) like Vultures, Condors, and Eagles. So remember, the next time you see a large group of Crows it is a flock!

As you will know, from reading my blog, I love ‘my’ Crows. Mr Crow has been around the garden for a number of years but, this year, he was joined by three fledglings that grew and grew and grew. (I always say Mr Crow…it could well be Mrs Crow!). This summer they started alerting me to when the wandering well-fed domestic cats were in the garden. They were so loud that their caws could not be ignored. For several days it seemed that they were wanting more food. They must have think I am truly daft. It wasn’t food – it was the cats. I am so grateful to them for protecting the other garden animals. In fact, most of the garden animals live in harmony. There is enough space and lots of food. It is the cats that cause the unhappiness.

But back to the Crows. ‘H’ wrote to me that Crows are signs of bad luck or death in Australia. In North American Indigenous traditions, the Crow and the Raven are good signs. They are signs of protection and often are viewed as messengers of wealth. In Manitoba, the Crow is part of the Creation Story of many of the local tribes just as it is with those in northwestern California. There are ceremonies that use the symbol, the power, and the prayers of the Crow to invoke protections – and these are very sacred, only used and known by those who deal with the Spirits. For the Inuit who live in the far north of Canada, the crow and the raven are often considered the same. You will find the creation stories of the Inuit and the Haida from British Columbia, using the Raven or the Crow, to tell their myths. The myth ‘The Crow Brings Daylight’ describes the moment when the people who lived in total darkness first saw the light that was brought by the Crow.

https://prezi.com/r9jz3ih7karv/crow-brings-daylight/

I hope that the Crow will bring you much luck and will guard and protect you.

All of the nests have had breakfast in Australia early. No one has had to wait for food to arrive despite the ominous clouds that you can see out the window of Xavier and Diamond’s scrape or the rain drops collecting on the camera at Port Lincoln.

Xavier brought in a Starling for Diamond to feed Indigo and Rubus. That was at 063320. Indigo and Rubus watch everything their parents do intently – each is a learning opportunity. The chicks will learn how to pluck and feed through observation. They will watch their parents fly from the scrape and, after they fledge, Xavier will teach them how to hunt. (With hawks and raptors it is often the role of the Dad to teach the fledglings to hunt.) Still, I have seen many, if not most, of the females do this as well. The exception would be the female Ospreys that leave the nests in the UK prior to the chicks fledging.

Notice that Little Rubus is in the corner with Indigo. Everything Indigo does, Rubus copies.

Indigo was so frightened by the Starling head last week. And here is another Starling head dangling! Do falcons have nightmares?

Just about the same time in Melbourne, at 0634, a plump freshly caught pigeon landed on the ledge at 367 Collins Street.

This morning you could really hear the stomping on that metal gutter! The eyases ate and began running up and down getting their legs strong. They are also flapping those little wings. Soon the white dandelions will be covering everything as the down flies off revealing the gorgeous juvenile falcon plumage.

It did not take long for the Melbourne Four to ‘decorate’ the far end of the gutter. Did you know that when falcons are looking for a good territory/scrape box/cliff, they will check to see how much guano is spread all over. The more ‘ps’ the better – it means that the area is rich in prey. An ideal location to have a nest!

Flapping and flapping. The others are almost all the way down to the other end of the gutter. The little one, however, chose to stay in the scrape. Cute wings!

Thankfully, Dad was out fishing early at Port Lincoln (as I am told he always is) and he hauled in a flat Zebra fish at 065757. The feeding was absolutely civil. In fact, it looks like Middle got the largest portion of that early fish.

It is difficult to describe how thrilled I am that Big has settled down and that life on the Port Lincoln Osprey platform is civil. It helps everyone. Middle can now eat without too much fear of reprisal. Still, he should be a wee cautious just in case Big wakes up on the wrong side of the fish one morning.

The nests have had their first meal for Monday in Australia. All is well.

There is no further news on Sea Eaglets 29 or 30 – both are in care. Dad and Lady have been working on their nest. They must wonder where their fledglings have gone. I wonder if they will leave for Lady’s favourite spa location, Goat Island, soon?

Thank you so very much for joining me. Take care of yourself. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their posts and streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Pinterest, Charles Stuart Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross,. 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, Sydney Olympic Forest, and Port Lincoln Ospreys.

Where is the Melbourne Mum?

10 October 2022

Before I begin, thank you so much for all of your Thanksgiving wishes. It is so nice of you. It was a lovely afternoon. Once everything was cleared I went to check on the nests. My first stop was Melbourne. What I saw was causing me some anxiety.

Dad was on the nest from 10:32:58 to 10:41:11. Mom returned at 10:51:07 but did not feed the chicks. She left at 11:01:48. She has been gone ever since. Dad has been on and off the nest for the following times: arrive at 11:02:54 and leave at 11:13:48. Returns at 11:20:05 and leaves at 11:40:32.

The eyases begin to get hot. They have not been fed recently and have no crops. All were panting frantically when Dad returns at 11:54 to shade them. Where on earth has this Mum gone? This is the second day in a row that she has been off the nest in the middle of the day when the shade is not on the chicks for an hour. Unbelievable.

Dad was looking around, up and down. Is there an intruder? a female? and why is Mum taking over security? Normally the male would be doing that now even if it were a female.

Where is Mum?

Dad is back. The chicks are hungry and they are hot and crying. Where is Mum?

Dad cannot bring any prey to feed the hungry chicks because they are over heating. It will be about a half hour before the shade reaches them. My heart is breaking for these wee ones. So hungry, so hot. It takes two parents to raise a clutch. Let us all hope that Mum is able to come back to the scrape soon.

Thank goodness for Dad!

It is possible that they might not have eaten for six hours. They will need hydration. I have not seen a feeding since the first one this morning. Perhaps if the shade comes, Dad can get something out of the pantry if there is prey there and feed the wee four.

Send best and warmest wishes, please.

Thank you for being with me. I will send out another report later if Mum arrives. Take care.

Thank you to 367 Collins Street by Mirvac for their streaming cam where I took my screen captures.

Early Friday in Bird World

7 October 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

Two Juncos, 1 Grey Squirrel – one of Dyson’s little ones – and a single Blue Jay are up and feeding this morning. It is -2 degrees C. It is now time to seriously begin finding the puffer coat, the Alpaca boot socks and scarf! The Anorak is no longer enough for a walk at the nature centre! Burrrrrrr.

This is also the beginning of the Thanksgiving long weekend in Canada. The second Monday in October marks the end of the harvest and it is the fields with the grain left from the Combine Harvesters and Reapers that feed all the Canada and Cackling geese, Sandhill Cranes, and all the other birds landing in them during migration.

Making News:

Lori Covert, the owner of the property where the Captiva Osprey platform and Bald Eagle nest are put out an announcement for everyone today.

Harriet and M15’s rebuilding efforts continue to make the news in Fort Myers. The eagles are busy and they are inspiring everyone to move forward! I love how all of the raptors live in the moment. It is truly special to see them surviving the hurricane, checking the nest, deciding what to do, and then gathering up the materials to rebuild.

The correlation between factory farming and bird flu is being discussed more openly.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/oct/06/bird-flu-an-urgent-warning-to-move-away-from-factory-farming

The article above comes from the most recent publication by Thijs Kuiken in Science.

https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.adf0956

We need to really examine our relationship with these industrial farming methods and what this means.

Nest News:

Oh, it is difficult to feed a much smaller eyas that cannot yet focus than it is an older one. That said, the wee one at Orange did get some nice bites around 18:34 at Orange. Soon its eyes will focus better and then, s/he should be able to position themselves better for Xavier and Diamond’s beaks.

There is a video of this feeding overlaid with a super interview with Dr Cilla Kinross, leader of the research project at Charles Sturt University at Orange. It is 10 minutes long and if you don’t have the time to sit and watch. Cilla Kinross has a great sense of humour – the water tower being dubbed the ‘Concrete Hilton’.

Cilla does mention how late the little one hatched and that it will be fed after the first one. Most of us are used to the falcons and hawks hatching close together and all of them making a circle of beaks reaching up for food with no prey competition. The issue is the height of the smaller one. Kinross says that Diamond and Xavier will feed the ‘strongest’ chick in this instance first. She also discusses the ability of Xavier to hunt in the horrific weather that Orange is having. She also discusses why it is important to study the falcons (and animals). Really, it is a good interview. Have a listen!

One single note. At the nest of Big Red and Arthur, L4 was tiny. That little one scrambled to the front of the line to get food with no fear of the others. In the end, L4 was the first fledgling to catch prey and, it is L4 that continues to reside on the territory of its parents on Cornell University. L4 turned out to be, perhaps, the strongest of the four eyases.

The weather in the Sydney Olympic Forest is dreary. The rain will continue until Sunday, and it is not such a great time for SE30 to decide to fly. SE29 and the adults continue to encourage SE30 higher on the branches. Not a lot of large prey is coming on the nest. SE30 got a small fish. There was no quibbling…is SE29 eating off nest? That is my question of the morning.

‘A’ wrote and mentioned that the Currawongs have become a problem around the nest of late. That is another good reason for SE30 to just sit and wait for the nice weather to come before venturing out into the forest with its first flight.

Oh, if Cilla Kinross wishes the falcons would eat more Noisy Miners, I wish the sea eagles would go after those Currawong! Have a banquet!!

SE29 is sleeping on the branch. Every once in a while, it moves, and you can see it – again above 30 as if the sibling is looking after and protecting the other sibling. What a pair these two have been this year. So fantastic to watch.

The parents at the Melbourne scrape are doing fabulous. I simply cannot say enough about how these two have come together as first-time parents (OK. parent and stepparent but I will call them parents) and are doing one fantastic job. The weather is not good in Melbourne either. You can always hear the faint call of the male telling the female of a fresh prey drop. (They also have a stash somewhere, like Xavier and Diamond, for the days when hunting is not good. Mum rushes off, has a break and a meal. Sometimes Dad feeds the four, sometimes Mum. Dad is pretty good at getting those bites in those beaks – and now, it seems the wee one is seeing better and holding that wobbly head upright. They are called Bobs – not in reference to the male name Bob or Robert but, because their heads ‘bob’.

Yesterday there were three feedings at Melbourne before noon. Several before light’s out.

Mum has been notified of a prey delivery and off she goes.

Every chick will be fed.

Look at that wonderful rainbow!

The four eyases are too big for Dad to brood! And even Mum is now having some difficulty.

When the 16:42 fish arrives on the nest on the Port Lincoln barge, all three osplets still have crops from earlier feedings. Little Bob managed well with getting himself up in the line in a position where he could get bites including stealing a few from Big Bob like he has done the past couple of days. At bedtime, all three were full – and that is wonderful. Today it will be partly cloudy in Port Lincoln, no rain predicted with temperatures ranging from 14 to 8 degrees C. The windspeed will be 16kph.

Little Bob has the same problem as the wee one at Orange. His neck is not long enough so eating position is key right now.

A nice fish arrives – big enough to feed everyone including Mum.

Mum tries her best to cover her fast growing family.

Thank you so much for being with me this morning. Please take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their posts and streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Lori Covert and Window to Wildlife, WINK News Fort Myers, Port Lincoln Ospreys, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park and 367 Collins Street by Mirvac.

QT is now Lillibet, Little Bob has a huge crop and other news in Bird World

6 October 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

Oh, goodness. One area of my City had its first snow last evening and the temperature for the rest of us is 1 degree C. (Think of 0 as 32 degrees F). We had our first heavy frost last night. This cold snap will surely put some of the birds that are arriving in our City on a path south!

The active nests remain in Australia while the Bald Eagles work on their nests for egg laying later in the year in the US. Rain is the issue at some of the nests. Melbourne received 3 inches of rain or 7.5 cm. Mum worked so hard to keep those eyases dry. Sadly, the Collins Street scrape will have more rain today – perhaps an inch – starting at around 0800. My weather report says that should end around 1300. It has really rained in Sydney and there are some areas that are flooding. Rain should begin in the Olympic Park where the Ironwood Tree nest of the Sea Eagles is located at around 1100 and then stop. Port Lincoln could be dry today! Yippee. It looks right now that Orange could be dry as well. We wait and see how the forecasts hold up BUT regardless, these amazing raptor families are doing well despite the heavy downpours that are occurring. That is simply wonderful.

There is word that Friends of Osprey – think Janet Foster, Ian Falkenburg, Fran Solly – from Port Lincoln and all those who donated or joined Friends of Osprey – have received four sat pack transmitters for this year. There will be one available for Port Lincoln and one each going to the three other nests should they have fledglings. Calypso has been seen numerous times and is flying well. She is the 2019 fledgling from PLO. Ervie is, of course, out and about being the man about town in Port Lincoln. This is excellent news. More platforms are planned for South Australia as well as the number of Ospreys grow in the area.

Friends of Ospreys has a new website and they are grateful for all donations. All funds go directly to the camera, etc at Port Lincoln, new platforms in the area, and those precious transmitters. This is their new site and it is packed with information. Not a member? Consider donating. Membership is $20 Australian.

Here is the latest news from the blog on our darling Ervie:

https://friendsofosprey.com.au/our-tracked-osprey/

An announcement came out of the Royal Albatross Centre on Taiaroa Head yesterday that a decision was made and accepted by all members that the Royal Cam Chick known as QT be officially named ‘Lillibet’ after Queen Elizabeth II.

I was worried about Little Bob at Port Lincoln yesterday. Big and Middle continue to go at one another and well, I will sound like a broken record but, it is a real blessing that they stop fighting and act nicely at the fish table. ‘A’ noticed yesterday that Little Bob’s lack of a long neck is hampering him if he is not at the right position during feeding. That said, he walked away with several nice size crops later yesterday when larger fish came to the nest.

In the image below, have a look at Middle Bob. Notice the dark woolier down that is now replacing that light grey coat of down the osplets had when they hatched. They will retain this thermal wooly layer to help them regulate their temperature. Feathers will begin to appear. You can already see the rusty-gold ones on their head and nape. These will be followed by the wing, tail, and body feathers until they get their full juvenile plumage. They are going to be very itchy and will spend much time preening.

Remember that the feathers are often called ‘blood feathers’. The feathers grow from blood quills which will disintegrate and fall off as the feathers grow.

Little Bob looks great with that big crop of his. You will notice that all three chicks are in the full reptilian phase including having ‘clown feet’.

We all wondered if Little Bob would be another Ervie. He certainly does his best to get up front and at the beak for feeding. The beaking between the two older siblings does send him into safe positions and it does appear that he is often afraid of them — and for good reason. He is still very small. Let the older more evenly matched siblings take their angst out on one another!

Dad continues to provide lots of prey for the Melbourne eyases and he does his best to feed them and keep them covered from the sun. It is difficult for him to brood them – even last year, Old Dad has a huge problem when it came to four chicks. They all seem to be doing well including the smallest one.

Mum has been notified that prey is delivered. She has flown off to have a break and eat.

Dad arrives and stays with the eyases til Mum returns.

Some chatting and bowing and Dad is off!

The older chicks can see well. It is hard to determine if the 4th has its eyes fully open and focused yet. Oh, how I wish there was a zoom on that camera!

The wee one at Orange is getting some food while Big Bob is growing like crazy. Everything is going well at Orange for Xavier and Diamond and we will all get to see how these two manage as parents of two this year instead of one.

There have been lots of feedings and Xavier has been able to feed and brood his family! He so loves being such an active part in everything instead of just providing prey.

SE30 has not fledged yet. The heavy rains in the forest should slow down any flying but, SE29 does not seem to be bothered flying in and out of the nest. SE29 is roosting elsewhere. SE30 is so excited to see its sibling when it flies in. They seem to have such a special bond with one another this year.

Fish have been coming to the nest and Lady often feeds SE30 and also SE29 should s/he show up on the nest. SE29 is often more interested in what is going around making one wonder if s/he is not also being fed elsewhere.

All of the nests are as quiet as they can be in the middle of the night in Australia. Despite the weather, all of the parents are able to feed and keep their little and not so little youngsters fed and warm (if needed).

Migration:

Checking on Karl II family for 5 October. Bonus continues to stay in the same area of Romania. Tracking shows that he flew a lot. This is a map of where he is and an image of the area.

Waba is still in Moldova at an area around Glodeni.

Waba seems to be enjoying a pond in the landscape. You can see by the blue dots that he visits there often. How wonderful he has found a source of fish and frogs.

Karl II has just astounded people with a 450 km flight. He is now in Turkey!

I see that there are no tracking reports yet for Kaia. On 4 October she was 31 km from the Mediterranean Sea. She is perhaps in areas where there is little satellite transmissions available.

Don’t forget that 8 October is Big Bird Day at Cornell Bird Lab. Go to their website to register for the bird count if you are not already a part of eBird. It is free. Here is the information to get you started:

https://ebird.org/news/october-big-day-2022

Thank you so much for joining me this morning. Take care. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and posts where I took my screen captures: Friends of Osprey, Cornell Bird Lab and NZ DOC, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, and Looduskalender Forum.

Harriet and M15s nest destroyed

29 September 2022

Thank you for your many notes and letters. I thought I should bring you an update on what is know so far and, in particular, about Captiva and SWFlorida nests.

As we wait to catch sight of our Eagles and Ospreys, the damage done to nests is slowly being revealed. There is no communication and the causeway bridge is virtually destroyed to Sanibel/Captiva. It is going to be some time before we know what has happened to the Osprey and Bald Eagle nests on Lori Covert’s property at Captiva.

Do we know about Harriet and M15?

What we do know is that the nest of Harriet and M15 at Fort Myers on the Pritchett Property is completely destroyed. The tree is still standing albeit there may be branches missing. What we know is that Eagles and Ospreys are extremely resourceful and hardworking when it comes to nests and no doubt Harriet and M15 will have a new nest ready for this breeding season! The cameras were also destroyed.

The nest of Ron and Rita in the Miami Zoo is fine.

The nest at the Achieva Credit Union of the Ospreys, home to Tiny Tot Tumbles, in St Petersburg survived intact – even the grass is still there!

I cannot find the streaming cam for Samson and Gabby near Jacksonville. It appears that there are currently power outages in the area as Tropical Storm Ian approaches. Samson and Gabby were last seen at their nest late Tuesday evening. Like Harriet and M15, they are strong eagles and would know where to hunker down.

This is the view of St Augustine which is just south of Jacksonville.

In other nest news, building also seems to have begun at the Notre Dame nest of our Little Bit ND17 in St Joseph’s Park in South Bend, Indiana. Dad has been caught on camera bringing in sticks! That is fantastic. We all worried that they would relocate elsewhere.

So many of you have asked about the birds – the Eagles and the Ospreys – that I hoped to find some positive information on sights. Not yet but we wait and hope.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and/or posts where I took my screen captures: to the person who sent me the image of M15 and Harriet’s tree thank you, Bald Eagles Nest Cam Live FB, WRDC, Cruise Radio, Notre-Dame Eagles and Achieva Credit Union.

Poor Lena hangs on as Hurricane Ian comes to Florida and other news in Bird World

27 September 2022

Good Afternoon,

A brief check on what is happening at a few of the Osprey and Eagle nests that are on the edge of Hurricane Ian as it moves towards Florida and a peek at the Australian nests as the 28th of September begins there. At the moment, it appears that Port Lincoln Osprey barge is offline. Maybe that cam will start working again before I finish. The Sea Eagles appears to be offline as well.

I know that our thoughts are always with the people and birds when these treacherous storms arrive. Osprey Lena is hanging on tight to her new nest at Captiva as I write this. On top of having to hunker down and ride out what could be a category 3 or 4 hurricane by tomorrow, Lena also has not seen her mate, Andy, back at the nest. I just feel for her right now. The wind is blowing at 25 mph and the rain is intensifying at both the Osprey and Eagle nests at Captiva.

Lena continues to hunker down in the same spot.

An hour later she is holding on in the same spot. You can see on the live streaming cam the gulls and pelicans flying low to the water’s surface. Rain and wind are picking up.

At around 1700, Romeo, the young male tried to land on Lena and Andy’s nest so Lena not only has to contend with a hurricane coming but also is alarming and trying to protect her nest. She is not impressed.

Lena is blown off the nest.

There she goes.

You can watch the Captiva nest and Lena here:

You can catch the Captiva Eagle nest of Connie here:

The Achieva Osprey nest is starting to sway in St Petersburg and the wind seems to be picking up a bit at the nest of Harriet and M15 in Fort Myers. The nest of Ron and Rita in the Miami Zoo would make you seasick if you were so inclined!

The little sea eaglets – who are not all that little anymore if you look at that wing spread – are acting more and more like adults. Someone took a video clip of them sleeping. Have a look at how grown up they are standing with their heads tucked.

The Mum at Melbourne was doing some ker-chuffing at 0606. She did not take a break for several minutes later -at 06:10:43 -and she was gone long enough to have a nice meal and stretch her legs. While she was away the new male came to the end of the ledge. He did not incubate the eggs. He stayed for a few minutes and then flew off before Mum returned.

There she goes.

Mum appears to be a lot more careful when approaching the eggs and her body appears to be fluffed quite a bit. Can she hear her babies? From the pip to hatch can take anywhere from 24-72 hours. Oh, I wish we could get a real close up on those eggs!

Fluffed out and looking around.

This year Xavier appears to be spending much more time in the scrape box with Diamond.

Port Lincoln still appears to be offline. Send all your best wishes to the people and our beautiful birds in the line of Hurricane Ian. Captiva is S of Tampa and Tampa is expecting strong winds to hit tomorrow afternoon.

Thank you so much for being with me on this quick check as to what is happening. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Captiva Ospreys and Window to Wildlife, Captiva Bald Eagles and Window to Wildlife, WRDC, Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam.

Late Tuesday in Bird World

My goodness. What a blizzard! I returned to Winnipeg 24 years ago and gosh, golly. I have not seen this much snow in all those years. Oh, we need it! Surely there will be no droughts this summer. My hair thanks me for getting out, too. The main roads were clear enough but it took 3 times the usual amount of time to get from one spot to another. Whew. Done for another two months! What really cheered me up was walking to the car and looking over and there was Mr Woodpecker on the new suet having a good old feed. The Starlings had not arrived and he had the place to himself along with Mr and Mrs Chickadee and Dyson and Little Red. The House Sparrows never bother the other little birds but I do believe some are intimidated by the Starlings. At any rate, he was enjoying the new suet. I keep saying ‘new’. I bought several slabs of suet and the birds would not touch it. Not for anything. So I went back to the brand sold by the nature centre and there he was this morning. I had just put it up yesterday. Yippeeee.

When I checked on Ervie earlier, there was an Osprey down on the barge floor in Dad’s nest/cave. I wondered if it was Ervie because it looked like the bird had a sat-pak. And guess what? It was Ervie down in Dad’s nest this morning! Here he is now down there with Dad still!

Ervie looks like he has a nice crop. I don’t know if it is the angle of the camera that is making that chest area look puffy or if he had a big fish for breakfast.

Dad does not seem to mind sharing his special place with Ervie.

Gosh, they look nice down there. The wind is really whipping around and I bet this is why both of them are down below.

If you are a fan of Thunder and Akecheta at the Channel Islands West End Bald Eagle nest, Thunder just laid her second egg.

I sure hope that Cheta can stay on that nest. He has already left egg 1 alone! Can you hear me screaming. I thought he would have learned. Admittedly, him and Thunder got their messages crossed last year. As the mod at the KNF nest says -“maybe the third time will be the charm”. I hope so.

Gary has posted another great educational video about the Redding Eagles and egg watch. He talks about 23 year old Liberty and her egg data since 2009. It is really good and will get you ready for what is to come!

Thinking of eggs arriving I decided to check the White-Bellied Sea Eagles nest and our dear Daisy is not on there and has not laid any eggs. Isn’t it wonderful?

I am not seeing any weather happening at the Berry College Bald Eagle cam yet. Baby is a little chilly and is wanting under Mum Missy and she is determined to aerate that nest! I was hoping that she was going to dig a deep cup for the eaglet to be in under her if their weather turns nasty. It looks from the recent tracking that the storm said to deliver 30 cm of snow or a foot could be heading north of them and east so will hit Duke Farms, Big Red, etc.

Anna continues to provide less feedings but much more food. Little eaglet was full to the brim and had trouble again with its big crop. It must be really tough to move around with a crop bigger than your head!

This baby is simply sweet. You can see how quickly its thermal down is coming in. That little head is still covered. The size of the cere I am finding interesting. This could well be a very large eagle… a nice big female!

If you are interested in other Bald Eagle streaming cams in Louisiana, Metro Aviation has one in Shreveport. The couple are visiting the nest frequently but have not yet laid eggs. There had been a nest but it was damaged and there is no historical data on these eagles. However, it is really nice to have such staggered egg laying so that we can enjoy the behaviour and the development of all the eaglets. Here is the link to their cam:

That is it for me today. The driving in the blizzard conditions was quite silly but, for one reasons or another, my stylist and I have not been able to connect since late October. I can even feel my neck now!!!!!! I hope everyone is well. Stay warm and stay safe. Thank you so very much for joining me and the birds. Keep all of the birds and animals in your warm thoughts so that this big snow storm does not harm them.

Thank you to the following streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Explore.org, KNF Bald Eagles, Berry College Bald Eagles, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, and Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park.