Sample Bags and a Miracle at Manton Bay Rutland

Around 18:00, the team to retrieve the bodies of EE1 and EE2 begin their work in the Matsula National Park. The person who climbed the tree was named Gunnar. The bodies of the two eaglets were examined carefully at the nest. It was noted that EE2 had a large swollen belly. However, it appeared that EE1 had a pellet stuck in their throat that they had been trying to cast for some time as there was vomit. Those were the general observations. The tests on all nest items will hopefully reveal causes. All of the prey items, every feather, and each piece of bone were removed from the nest for testing to discover what caused the deaths of the two White-tail eaglets of Eve and Eerik.

The chicks were retrieved very professionally and placed into sealed sample bags.

The cleaning of the nest of any prey items that could have harmed the chicks and/or the parents. The results of the testing and the post-mortem will be posted to the public forum for the nests. There are both Estonian and English sites. The tests will take some time. Remember that they will try to conduct them at the University of Estonia but if they cannot then the samples will be sent out of the country. Here is the link:

It is a beautiful morning in Ithaca, New York. Big Red wakes up to a golden glow and promises of a mostly sunny day and highs of 21. The eyases will be warm! And this heat and sun will give a chance to dry out the nest from the rains earlier in the week.

Already you can see the eyases prefer to sleep on the fur of the animals instead of the pokey sticks! The Ks are fine. Chatters have been worried about K3. K3, at the top, uses a Starling (I think) as a cushion. Look at its fat little bottom and strong wings and long neck. No one ever needs to worry about Big Red’s kiddos being hungry. It doesn’t happen. No one needs to worry they will fall off the tower either – they don’t! They are afraid of heights – yes, isn’t that funny?

Tiny Tot is ten weeks old today!!!!!!! Congratulations! Oh, goodness. So many didn’t think he would live to be this old. 70 days. But do not let the number of days fool you. For 12 full days Tiny did not eat and those days were mostly in the critical rapid growth phase. Tiny still has feathers to come in and lots of hovering to do before s/he fledges. Just as well she likes being on the nest and takes her time. We want her to succeed and not be rushed.

By noon both Tiny Tot and sibling #2 had had a fish each. Not bad. Tiny got the 7:55 am food drop from Jack. It was hazy and oh, is it going to be hot – up to 29 or 30 degrees C today. That nest must be even hotter. Poor babies.

At the Hellsgate Osprey nest of Iris, the oldest Osprey in the world, Iris was missing in action. She did not spend the night incubating the two eggs of hers and Louis’s and she was not there at dawn (image below is at 6:23 am).

Iris flew in around 8:11. She began alarming almost immediately after she arrived. She flew off the nest and returned at 9:11 when she began alarming again. Iris was on and off the nest – mostly off – as the morning progressed. Again I am not an expert but Iris does not appear to be too concerned about incubating the eggs in the nest. She is much more involved in protecting her territory.

It is 13:27 in Jacksonville, Florida. Legacy has been hunkered down on her nest since morning due to the high winds in the area. Wind is 32 kph with gusts even higher. Fishing would be very choppy and Samson will come in with fish for Legacy when he can. She has eaten well and we also know that eagles can go several days without eating – that is the way it is in the wide world that Legacy will enter one day.

You may recall that the nest of the Ospreys, LM6 and LJ2, at Lyn Brenig in Wales was cut down during the night with someone using a chainsaw and boat. With considerable effort the people in Wales renovated another portable nest for the couple and then replaced the old nest. An update was provided this morning.

LM6 and LJ2 have shown considerable interest in the new nest. However, a Greylag Goose has now laid eggs on that nest. This presents a problem and the folks in Wales have decided not to seek a permit to move the eggs of the goose but to leave it in place and create another nest at that site for the Ospreys.

Raising the new nest so it can be placed on its pole.

And now for the lead story. Blue 33 (11) brought in a headless fish for Maya to feed to the Two Bobs. Everything was going well for a few minutes when the fish began to flap, of its own accord, on the nest cup right where the Two Bobs and the third egg were. I will show you this in a sequence of images.

Look at Maya’s expression. She is scared!

Maya moves around to the other side of the nest to figure out what to do and the fish starts flapping directly, up and down, on top of the babies – again.

This was the scene when the fish finally stopped moving. It is horrific. No one knew if either of the little ones were alive. One’s body is caught underneath and the head of the little one is under the fish on the opposite side.

Everyone held their breath. After the two eaglets at the White-tail nest in Estonia, it was hard to believe that anything good could come out of his incident.

In a few minutes the little ones pull themselves from that fish.

Maya alerts Blue 33 (11) to remove ‘that’ fish from the nest! And she broods her babies.

What began as a horrible incident became a miracle. By 15:00 the Two Little Bobs were up and ready to eat again.

Smile! Just look at the two of them. Fantastic. I cannot think of a better way to end my blog today.

Thank you so much for joining me. Take care. And smile….think of the Two Bobs and the miracle that saved them if you start feeling ‘blue’. Wonderful things happen.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I gather my screen shots: LRWT and Rutland Osprey Project, Achieva Credit Union, The Eagle Club of Estonia, NE Florida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF, Cornell Bird Lab, Montana Osprey Project, and Lyn Brenig Osprey Project.

Wednesday up and downs in Bird World

Wednesday started off with the sudden death of EE2 at the White-tail Eagle Nest in Estonia. The little one was up, bright and cheery at 4:04 and then gone. There has been a lot of speculation. A heat wave went through the area with temperatures doing from 1 to 26 degrees C in a day. Those dramatic changes can put stress on wildlife. Eve and Eerik had plenty of food and the eaglets were, as far as I could tell, growing and filling up the egg cup. Yes, there could have been a toxin and for sure, everyone has been watching EE1 closely. It could also have been a tragic accident of some sort. We won’t know because the body of the little one will not be taken – so I am going to stop speculating myself and hope that EE1 thrives and fledges. EE1 was fed five times between 13:22 and 19:14 and appears healthy.

The three eyases of Annie And Grinnell were banded today. The chick on the left has been banded. The one whose wings are back and looks totally frightened is just getting ready to be banded. It looks a little frightened.

The eyases receive two bands. One is metal and has a 9 digit aluminum band. There is a second coloured band with four digits that is unique to Peregrine Falcons in the SF Bay region. No gloves are used in the banding process so that the banders can handle the birds safely. Banding helps with studies in survival and movement. It does not hurt the birds.

The three are all males.

The banding was an on line event with two people from the centre answering questions as they discussed the process. You can see the whole procedure here and listen to the questions being answered:

Can you tell which of the two ospreys on the nest is Tiny Tot?

Oh, my, that bird has grown! Someone looking over my shoulder said, ‘The one with the beard!’ Well, if those feathers were smoothed down, it sure would be hard to pick Tiny out because Tiny isn’t Tiny anymore. Tiny Tot needs to grow some more feathers for flight. Look at sibling #2 at the back. See the length of the wing tip feathers? And the next layer? It would be really good if Tiny got all that feather growth before setting out on its own. Hopefully Tiny will hang around the nest, as #2 has done, to get some more flight training and to let the parents, Jack and Diane, feed it.

Sibling #2 is on the perch post eating a fish and Tiny Tot has just acquired the 3:47 pm fish delivery. No doubt s/he is going to be really full! Look at the size of that fish!

Big Red and Arthur’s little ones are doing fine. K3 really is a corker. Poor thing. I watched it yesterday when it got behind siblings 1 and 2 and wasn’t getting any bites. Oh, that little one – not scared at all – pecked at that big sib. I was rolling with laughter. It was like a comedy routine. Early this morning, for the first feeding, K3 was up front. It takes a few days to figure out the strategy but those little ones have spunk and drive. No one needs to worry about getting fed on Big Red’s nest!

This nest has a lot of different food items for the Ks. Believe it or not, at this age, they are already imprinting those birds and mammals so that when they are older, they will know that it is OK to eat them. The eyases have to pack a lot of knowledge into a few short months.

Big Red goes off for a break. It is a nice warm day. Arthur delivers a grey squirrel and then returns with a Starling! Everything is fine on the nest of the Ks.

I did a quick check on the little osplets on the Savannah nest. They had nice crops – both of them – around 13:30 – left over from the earlier feeding.

The second sibling is getting a nice feed from mom. That is nice to see. There remains some rivalry that can be unpleasant at times.

The image below was taken yesterday, 11 May. It is Iris and for those of you who do not know, Iris got her name from the specks in her right eye. You can see them clearly below. So, even without any band, everyone knows that this is Iris!

Iris did not incubate the eggs in the nest last night nor did she spend the night on the perch. In fact, she left her nest in good time to go and get herself a good fish dinner and did not return until this morning.

Iris had a nice fish breakfast before heading over to the nest nearby.

Iris returned to the nest at 6:42. She had been away at least twelve hours. Iris is taking care of herself.

As the graduate student at the UC Falcon Cam said today when asked if Annie and Grinnell would remember the banding every year. He said, “Birds have memories.” There is no doubt in my mind that Iris is chained to her hormones during the breeding season. She migrates to Montana and begins working on her nest. She lays eggs regardless or not of mating. She has some urge to incubate them BUT no doubt, over the past four or five years she remembers what has happened. Perhaps she remembers and isn’t caring so much this year? I cannot answer that. Perhaps she knows that both of those eggs are not fertile. ——- I just want to continue to enjoy seeing her. She is an amazing Osprey.

Legacy at the NE Florida Bald Eagle Cam in Jacksonville was waiting for a food drop this morning.

Isn’t ‘he’ gorgeous? He, you ask. The reasoning is in part because of the ‘flat’ head but more important the mandible – the yellow portion of the beak/mouth does not extend to 90% of the back of the eye. I hope that makes sense. Instead, the bright yellow area below stops almost level with the front of the eye. Take your finger to see – and then notice how much longer it would be if it extended to the back of the eye. Are you a boy, Legacy? Of course, there is never 100% certainty unless a DNA test is taken or you see Legacy lay an egg but, it is a good indicator.

Samson came in with a fish delivery at 2:11:32 and he got out of Legacy’s way fast!

Wow. By 2:31 – twenty minutes later – there is hardly anything left of that fish! Good work, Legacy. You are a pro at self-feeding.

I want to close with a look at a power couple in the Osprey world: Maya and Blue 33 (11). Blue 33 (11) has brought a fish to Maya so she can feed the two Bobs.

There was mention about Blue 33 (11) and this nest at Mantou Bay at Rutland. Tiger Mozone said something very ensightful: “Blue 33 (11) not only wanted the nest but Maya, too.” Right on. As Tiger pointed out, Maya had first been paired with 32 (05) who was shot. Then she was with 5R (04) but he didn’t return in 2014. In 2014, Maya paired with 28 (10) who Tiger calls Wonky Wing – Blue 33 (11) made short shift of him evicting him from the nest. Maya and Blue 33 (11) did not breed that year but they started in 2015 and have since had twenty-one chicks!!!!!!!! Blue 33 (11) knew a good female as well as a good nest.

Look at those healthy Bobs. I cannot think of a better way to end the day than seeing these two strong future ospreys.

Thank you for joining me today. It is nice to have you here with me.

Thanks to the following for their streaming cams where I get my screen shots: LRWT, NEFlorida Eagle cam and the AEF, Montana Osprey Project, Cornell Bird Lab, Skidaway Audubon, Achieva Credit Union, UC Falcons, and the Eagle Club of Estonia.

A very sad day in Estonia

Last night I took pictures of Eve and Eerik and EE1 and EE2 as the sun was setting. It was nearly 10:30 pm and the sun would rise again in Estonia around 4:30am.

EE1 has eaten its fill and now it is time for EE2.

Their last meal of fish comes at 22:02 as the sun is setting.

Look at the breast feathers of Eve. She has so many to keep her warm. You can see the nest cup and how she straddles it to brood EE1 and EE2.

The sun is setting in Estonia. The last meal that the eaglets had was at 22:02.

Eve wakes up with the sun and needs a relaxation break. She looks around for intruders before she leaves the nest. Wonder where Eerik is?

EE2 would like some breakfish!

Eve needs a break for returning to the nest for breakfast. The day starts early in Estonia.

Little EE2 looking around at the world as EE1 sleeps.

The sun is rising in Estonia. It is 4:04 am. Eve has gone off for a break. Little EE2 watches her as she returns to the nest.

Eerik flies in with some fresh straw for the nest. You can see the fish ready for breakfast.

And then something happens.

Around 11:20, EE2 dies. It is unknown what happened. Eerik begins to cover its little body in the centre of the nest.

Eve understands what has happened to her little one.

Everyone is thinking about this beautiful White-tailed Eagle family. It is not know if a toxin in the food or some disease. It is also very hot in Estonia – 26 degrees C.

We are all hoping that EE1 will survive. Eve and Eerik have done all they can as eagle parents. Our thoughts go out to them and the people of Estonia.

Eve mourned her baby as long as she could.

Eve looks down at her surviving baby EE1 and she is getting ready to feed it. Life goes on. Eagles cannot stop to mourn their dead for a long time. Eve will spend many minutes looking down to the nest where EE2 lies processing what has happened.

Eve feeds EE1. EE1 has been sleeping and is now eating. Let us all hope that this little eaglet stays safe and thrives.

What a very sad day for this remarkable family. Eve and Eerik were incredible parents. Thoughts go out to them and to the people of Estonia and this historic White-tail Eagle nest in Matsalu National Park.

Thank you to the Eagle Club of Estonia. I took these screen shots off their streaming cam.