Everyone’s favourite Duck and Falcon are back!

The last time we saw Daisy the Pacific Black Duck was when she returned to the White-Bellied Sea Eagle nest on the 23rd of December. She brought Mr Daisy with her to show him that her eggs were missing or destroyed. Daisy pushed all her down into the egg cup after walking all around the nest quacking. She arrived at 20:22:52 and left at 20:34:56. My heart broke for Daisy that day. After dealing with the possum in the early morning and the rain, Daisy was forced to leave for her morning break late. It just happened that three Ravens decided to venture out early that day. Daisy returned to her fertilized eggs missing or broken. She was frightened and confused.

This was the second time that Daisy had attempted hatching ducklings on this nest. The previous time had been in January of 2021.

Now, on 1 January 2022, Daisy and her mate have returned. When the eggs are broken, the intermission between then and the ducks mating again can be as little as ten days. It has been 9 days.

If Daisy decides to use the WBSE nest again, and it appears that she will, January will be complicated because Lady and Dad, the Sea Eagles, will be spending more time at the River Roost and more time checking on their nest.

The Sea Eagles will not be a direct problem. They might pull all the down off the eggs and might break one but they had no interest in destroying the eggs before. No, the predators are the Ravens.

If only Mr Daisy would step up and help!

Daisy arrives.

Mr Daisy arrives.

Our beautiful Daisy.

I had so hoped that she might try her luck down on the ground.

And so, we all realize the worst but hope for the best for this precious little duck that just wants to be a Mum.

There will be a lot of sleepless nites and tears. Get the tissues ready! Here are 2 video clips of Daisy and Mr Daisy arriving and inspecting the nest.

Another big surprise and a most welcome one is the return of Grinnell to The Campanile today. Here is the video clip of that moment:

Wow. Two huge surprises. I have to say that I am more than delighted to see Grinnell up on the ledge of the area that him and Annie use to raise their chicks at The Campanile on the grounds of UC-Berkeley. This is just fantastic. On the other hand, I do wish that Daisy had a safe place to lay her eggs so that she could experience the hatching and the leading of her little ones to the water. I cannot think of anything that would make all of us happier.

Thank you so much for joining me. I am thrilled to bring you this news. Take care. See you soon! Wonder what else is in store for us?

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures and video clips: Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park and UC-Cal Falcons. I also want to thank ‘P’ for alerting me to Daisy’s return. I would have missed it otherwise.

The Daisy Chronicles, day 2

We are going to start off with a check on what is happening in San Francisco – before moving on to Daisy.

An absolutely adorable 4 min 16 sec radio discussion on The Love Story in the Sky at The Campanile.

Did you know that Peregrine Falcons were virtually wiped out in California? In the late 1970 there were only two nesting pairs? This was the result of DDT. There is lots of literature but reading Rachel Carsons, Silent Spring, is a very good start.

DDT might have been banned after the revelations of Rachel Carson and others but it remains in the soil in various places. One of those is Big Bear California where DDT was sprayed on Big Bear Lake to kill the mosquitoes. It is still a contributing factor in thin egg shells which may be part of the problem with Jackie and Shadow, the Bald Eagles that have their nest at Big Bear.

Daisy the Duck did not spend the night on the White-Bellied Sea Eagle nest.

She arrived before sunrise to check on the nest. No one else was there. Daisy will be very cautious. She does not want to draw attention to the egg cup where her first egg was laid.

She goes over to where her egg is and checks. It is still there. Safe.

We can see where Daisy’s egg is because we know it is there but it is nicely covered with leaves and nest material so the predators cannot find it.

Daisy leaves right as the sun is rising and the forest is waking up.

Daisy carefully waits on a branch when she returns an hour and a half later. Can you see her?

She is checking and rolling her egg.

Daisy is very still. When she is in labour, her tail will move up and down.

There are now two eggs! Look you can see them both. Daisy is holding herself up so as not to break the second egg. When the eggs are laid they are soft. The air will dry off the surface and make them hard.

Daisy has settled on the eggs nicely. She is having a rest. Daisy will not do hard incubation until all of the eggs are laid. That is so they will hatch at the same time.

This last image of Daisy was taken a few minutes ago. It is nearly 08:30 in Sydney, Australia.

So far Daisy has been lucky. Lady and Dad did visit the nest tree a week ago and then on the day that WBSE 27 was released from care, they were not at the River Roost. They will often go to Goat Island if there are no eaglets to look after. Still, we know that they do come to check the nest.

Someone asked me why Daisy does not stay on the eggs now all the time. If she did they would not all hatch on the same day. Secondly, she is a very smart little duck. Her presence on the nest makes all of the other forest animals and birds curious. Last January they had never seen a duck on the big sea eagle nest — and neither had anyone else! I think Daisy will try and protect her eggs really well this year from the Ravens. She is almost a year older and she is ‘wiser’ now. Her breeding and the laying of eggs normally coincides with plenty of food and water. Her mate, who came to inspect the nest last year, only takes part in the mating ritual. The rest is up to Daisy. That is why she is so vulnerable. Only 20% of Pacific Black Ducks live to be 2 years old. Indeed, the average life span is only about two years. Oh, I so hope that she is successful this year! There are so many people hoping for Daisy!

You can join in and become a real Daisy fan. She needs all the love and positive energy we can all send her. Soon the name of the streaming cam will be changed from Sea-Eagle to Duck Cam! Here is the link to the streaming cam. Daisy arrives about 13:15 CDT or around 05:15 Australian Time. I am not expecting her to stay all day but she might surprise me.

Once Daisy lays all of her eggs (there could be 11), she will begin her hard incubation. Incubation will last for 29 days after the laying of the last egg. This is the difficult time. Daisy still has to eat and have some relaxing time. Last year she even went out during the night. It is then that the eggs are vulnerable. As long as she is incubating them, the Ravens seem not to bother. Our fears of the sea eagles proved to be nothing. They could behave differently this year but they were not a threat last save for the fact that scattering the down nesting material allowed the eggs to be seen. Fingers crossed.

Thanks for joining me. Take care everyone. See you soon!

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

Everyone’s favourite duck is back!

Lady and Dad had no more than finished eating the fish that was brought to the nest yesterday – in case one of the eaglets showed up – than our very own Daisy flies in! Yes, you read that correct!

Daisy is a Pacific Black Duck. Last year her and her mate visited the White-Bellied Sea Eagles’s nest in the Sydney Olympic Forest in December. They decided that it was the perfect place for Daisy to make her nest and raise her ducklings. The pair worked very hard making a nest cup lining it with leaves and the soft down that Daisy pulled off her breast. It was a work of art!

There were seven eggs in the nest. In total, however, Daisy laid nine eggs. Dad ate one and it is presumed that Daisy laid one egg elsewhere on a day when Dad decided to stay all day at the nest trying to catch her. Daisy is a very intelligent duck!

Here she is laying her last egg.

No one knew how but Daisy managed to thwart efforts of eviction. Lady and Dad were very curious and would come to the nest and mess it up but they were curious only. Dad had tried to eat a second egg and couldn’t and seemed to not like the taste of them anyway! Daisy would wait for the sea eagles to leave and return quietly to incubate her eggs. They were close to hatch when, at a time she was off the nest, the Ravens came and found them. Hundreds of people cheered the little duck on. No one thought that her or her eggs would last longer than a week but, she almost made it. Maybe this year she will.

This morning Daisy came to visit the nest again. Look closely. Her camouflage really works well. Can you see her?

There she is right in the middle of the nest.

What a relief to see that our darling little Daisy survived another year. She looks really nice and fit except for her paddle feet which look a little worse for wear since last year.

I could not see if her mate was with her or not. He certainly didn’t come into the nest but he might have been on one of the branches. Last year, he was very active in helping Daisy select the nesting site. Sadly, he was not active in protecting Daisy and the eggs.

Normally Black Pacific Ducks would make their nests on the ground near water. In this case it would be somewhere along the Parramatta River. There are, as we well know, predators ready to steal the eggs or eat the ducklings the minute that they are laid or hatch. Perhaps Daisy still thinks it is worth the risk of the ravens to try for a clutch here. Black Pacific Ducks lay two clutches of eggs a year. This is earlier than last year so, perhaps, this would be the first of two clutches this breeding season.

Oh, those beautiful wings. I cannot tell you how excited I am to see Daisy and to think of the possibility of seeing ducklings jump off this old nest in the Ironbark Tree. That would be really amazing.

I will keep you posted of developments or you can tune into the Sea Eagles cam to see if Daisy returns tomorrow morning. Here is the link to Cam 4 without the chat:

If there are any updates on WBSE 27 I will bring them to you tomorrow. There was some clarification about what happened. 27 had been standing on the road or sidewalk. When it flew up it was attached by a group of Currawong who kept hitting its head and it fell to the pavement. Thankfully a ranger was close by and 27 was alert in the transport van. So far no news is good news. I am really hopeful that 27 will get great care and if there was nothing broken or no internal injuries, it will make a full recovery and be returned to the wild. Indeed, this could all be a blessing in that 27 will be strong and well fed and able to fly before it is released. This might be just the chance it needs to survive.

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

Thank you to the SeaEagle Cam@ Birdlife Australia for their streaming cam where I took my screen captures.

Saturday Cuteness in Bird World

I thought that it was going to be hectic for Mum and Dad to keep the Collins Street Four supplied with pigeons. I never thought about the parents chasing them all over the gutter to make sure that each one gets fed! I don’t think any of us ever have to worry about the dedication and focus of these Peregrine Falcon adults. This feeding was quite extraordinary!

Did little Yurruga spend the night sleeping in the corner of the scrape box while Diamond tried to incubate her unviable eggs?

The feeding of Yurruga at Orange is so different than that of the Collins Street Four. However, looking ahead one week we should anticipate that Yurruga will be excited and nipping at the prey as the Melbourne falcons.

Yurruga makes some of the cutest faces and gestures.

There was a peanut size fish delivery at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge earlier but the three osplets and Mum are still waiting for Dad to bring in something substantial.

Dad brought the tiniest fish to the nest this morning in the Sydney Olympic Forest. He waited for about half an hour but no eaglet appeared. The Pied Currawongs were a menace to Lady, too, and eventually they ran him off the nest.

I remember Lady and Dad coming to the nest last year trying to lure 26 back so they could feed her. I wonder if one of the eaglets is still in the forest? There have been no reports since 15:30 on the day 28 fludged and 27 had its forced fledge.

OGK continues to wait for the arrival of YRK at the Taiaroa Head Royal Albatross Colony in New Zealand. Send every speck of positive energy his way. I so hope she flies in this week!

Here on the Canadian Prairies the weather has turned quite coolish. The number of birds in my garden have dwindled. Today there were only six Slate-grey Juncos and the House Sparrows. Grey Squirrel loved it because he had more than enough seed to fill him and four others to the brim! Tomorrow I will be at the nature centre to watch the thousands of Canada Geese land at dusk. It is eerie – the garden being quiet. I cannot imagine a world without the sound of the birds.

Thank you for joining me. Do take care. Stay safe and be happy.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: the Port Lincoln Osprey Project, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Sea Eagle @Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, Charles Sturt University at Orange Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.

Gold Star for PLO Dad – again!

It was a gorgeous day to be outside clearing up after the birds and replenishing their feeders and bowls. The gossip around the City is that the Robins are making their way through and stopping over for a bit before heading farther South. I don’t blame them. The wind is hardly blowing, the leaves are now golden, and the sky is blue. It is 24 degrees F. I would enjoy a vacation here if I didn’t live here, too!

It is nasty down in Port Lincoln, Australia. It is 11 degrees with 37 mph winds. Not as bad at the moment as yesterday but, the waves were fairly high and rough a bit earlier. That said I am just gobsmacked by the Port Lincoln Dad. A really nice fish hit the decks of the nest on the barge at 7:00:33. From some of the flapping going on, it appeared to be still alive. Little Bob doesn’t care! He just wants breakfast. I am certain that he currently has no idea of the effort his Dad went to getting that prize on the table.

There is a wee bit of chaos on the nest when the fish arrives. In front, with those lovely light grey stomach markings, and ‘staring’ at the fish is Little Bob. Oh, he does love his fish.

It really helps to get in the right position for Mum to see you. Little Bob keeps his eye on Mum and that fish. He needs to get himself up to the table and Big Bob is in the way.

Ah, Little Bob moves up. He is in the foreground or on the left of the choir but it is not a good place to be. Mom is feeding from the front of the fish. Little Bob really does like to go first. Will he move or stretch his neck?

They are all lined up nicely.

OK. Little Bob has relocated. He wants Mum to see his wide open mouth and fill it with fish. Do you think this is a better spot?

Bingo. The sun shines down on the ‘Golden Child’. The two older sibs look like they would rather lay down and not have the wind hit their faces. Little Bob prefers to eat.

Both Eyes wide open as well as beak open.

Yes! Little Bob is in the perfect spot. The others don’t seem to care. Indeed, they could well be used to him going first. There is always lots of fish to go around.

I wish you could see the smile on my face. Remember the day that Big Bob wanted to push her weight around and try and be dominant? You will recall that it didn’t work. Some of these third hatches are just brilliant. Little Bob is one of those. He doesn’t want to take ‘no’ for an answer so he figures out a strategy. Moving worked today.

Something happens. Mum starts feeding the big sibling in between Little Bob and the fish! Little Bob opens his mouth wide over and over again to try and get Mum’s attention.

It looks like the same image below, it isn’t. Little Bob tries over and over again. “Hey, Mum. Look, my mouth is open. Right here”.

Will his persistence pay off?

Finally!

Little Bob is getting some good bites. You can see the fish on his beak.

Little Bob is still opening wide. He has dropped the little crop he had and he is wanting more fish. Mum and Dad might have different ideas about that.

Did Dad want fish left for another feeding in case he couldn’t catch another one for awhile? It is unclear. At 7:32:57 Dad comes to retrieve the fish.

Every chick ate. Little Bob wanted some more bites but Mum said it was time to stop.

Surprise! Dad ate some of the fish and brought it back to Mum and the kids at 8:09:50.

It is difficult to see but it looks like everyone is crowded around Mom. The nest looks wet and cold. Hopefully that sun will come out and dry it tomorrow.

Is there someone still eating?

There is no telling who got what or how much. It is really windy and I bet chilly on the nest. Mom has them tucked in tight. The worst thing would be to get a chill in that damp nest.

Despite the cool windy weather, the chicks have had two feedings off that nice fish in the space of an hour and a half. Mom has them tucked in and they will be super toasty. Everything is fine on this nest. Just fine.

Mum and Dad are busy getting groceries for the four little falcons. My goodness they are growing and seem to be getting bigger and stronger by the hour. All you need to do is to take a look at the size of that wing in the image below to see the growth in a couple of days. Wow.

Xavier got a chance to incubate the eggs this morning so he was super eggcited.

WBSE 27 and 28 had an early feeding and they are both perfect – strengthening their legs and wings and getting very interested in the world outside of the nest. This has also been a great family to watch this year, just like the Port Lincoln Osprey family. No big dramatic events in either.

That is it for me today. I hope you had a very good weekend no matter where you are or what time it is. Take care everyone. See you soon!

And a last reminder. Mark you calendars. 9 October is eBird count day.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Sea Eagle Cam @ Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, and Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam at Orange.

Godwits…and more

I have heard the name but have never seen the bird – or, at least, I do not think I have. With my lousy shorebird IDs, I might have even confused this beautiful long-legged shorebird with a Greater Yellowlegs. Of course, everyone would have laughed.

Godwits are ‘very’ long legged shorebirds but their legs are not yellow! Their beak is ‘very, very’ long and is bi-coloured – light rose and espresso -and ever so slightly upturned at the end. They are called waders because they live in the mudflats and the estuaries. See how their legs go deep into the mud, too. They feed by sticking that very long beak into the mud, rooting around for worms and small shellfish.

“Bar-tailed Godwit” by naturalengland is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The breeding adults have a chest that ranges from a deep terracotta for the males to a brighter orange for the females. The wing and back feathers are more brown and white overall with a touch of the breast colour, sometimes. They have gorgeous dark eyes.

“Bar-tailed Godwit” by 0ystercatcher is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The juveniles have a cream coloured breast with overall brown and white feathering.

“Bar-tailed Godwit” by 0ystercatcher is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

What is so miraculous about these shorebirds is their migration. They breed in Alaska and fly in September to New Zealand! They make only one stop, normally. And they do the trip in record time. It is an 11,265 kilometre journey or 7000 miles. They accomplish this in eight days! Yes, you read that correctly, eight days.

“Bar-tailed Godwits” by naturalengland is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Neils Warnock, the Executive Director of Alaska Audubon in 2017, remarked,These godwits are epic migrants. We had a bird, E-7, that we had tagged, and she left New Zealand in the spring. She flies non-stop seven days, ten thousand kilometres, to the Yellow Sea. All of the Bar-tailed Godwits of Alaska, they stop at the Yellow Sea.”

The Yellow Sea is located between mainland People’s Republic of China and the Korean Peninsula.

Historically the mudflats of the Yellow-Sea have been rich with food for the Bar-tail Godwits so they can fatten up and make the rest of the journey to their winter homes in New Zealand without having to stop. Today, the mudflats of the Yellow Sea are under threat – they are disappearing with coastal development. This could prove to be a major challenge for these beautiful shorebirds. There have been many studies and the researchers have seen a drop in the number of shorebirds by 30% in the last few years because the mudflat areas have been reduced by 65%.

https://www.science.org/news/2017/04/migrating-shorebirds-danger-due-disappearing-mudflats

The reports of the shrinkage of the mudflats has been coming in since 2013 with alarms sounding.

Today the Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre in New Zealand reported that Bar-tailed Godwit 4BYWW made his flight in 8 days and 12 hours arriving home at 03:00 on 26 September. He flew 12,200 km. His average speed was 59kph. 4BYWW may have set a new distance record for the Bar-tail Godwits. We will know when the others return home. Isn’t that amazing?

What I found most interesting was her route. She does not appear to have gone via the Yellow Sea. Is this because of the decline of the mud flats? Have the birds adapted their migratory route? I definitely want to look at this more closely.

This was the satellite tracking image posted by the Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre FB page:

The Centre was tracking another four adults and 3 juveniles on their journeys home. One of those, 4BWWB, has been reported as flying non-stop for 163 hours and over 10,000 km. Seriously, my head can’t comprehend what that must be like. I am also truly amazed at what these sat-paks can tell us about the birds and their amazing resilience. Just incredible.

Tiaki officially fledged on the 25th of September. The Royal Albatross cam chick of 2021 is foraging off the coast of New Zealand at the present time. She will eventually make her way to the waters off of South America near Chile. We wait for her return in four to six years to Taiaroa Head where we will hear that beautiful Sky call, again.

While millions and millions of birds are moving from their summer breeding grounds to their winter homes, others are waiting for eggs to hatch. Holly Parsons posted a table of Diamond’s incubation history.

Xavier and Diamond’s first egg was laid in the scrape box on top of the water tower at Charles Sturt University in Orange, Australia on 31 August this year. Cilla Kinross, the main researcher, is expecting a hatch from 6-9 October with the most promising day being the 7th. Can’t wait!

Diamond was catching some sleep this morning. If all of the eggs hatch, her and Xavier are going to be very busy!

If the hatch is expected around the 7th of October at Orange, then what about those Melbourne Peregrine Falcons? The first egg was laid on the 21st of August – yes, that is right. Ten days before the Orange falcons. So, I am going to be looking for a hatch at Melbourne starting in two days!!!!!! This means that all of the Melbourne eggs, if viable, will hatch before those in Orange. It will be nice to get to enjoy them without trying to watch both at the same time!

For those of you wondering about those beautiful White-bellied Sea Eagles, 27 and 28, here they are. Talk about gorgeous.

Things will really be starting to ramp up shortly. Bald Eagle breeding season in the United States begins in a few days. Looking forward to checking on some nests to see if the birds have returned – such as Anna and Louis who had the first hatch on a nest in the Kisatchie Forest last year since 2013. His name was Kistachie – very appropriate.

Then there is always the trio at Port Lincoln. They had two feedings this morning and a third at 11:31:27 when Dad brought in a very small fish. All of the chicks were well behaved – quite civil to one another. And, of course, Little Bob is right there in front! Look carefully you can see him.

Life is good. Everything seems to be going really well for all the nests.

Thank you so much for joining me today. I hope you enjoyed learning about the Godwits as much as I did. Incredible birds. Take care everyone!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots or for postings on their FB pages that I have shared with you: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, Falcon Cam Project at Charles Sturt University and Cilla Kinross, Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre, Sea Eagle Cam @Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, and Cornell Bird Lab and NZ DOC.

Feature image credit: “Bar-tailed Godwit” by 0ystercatcher is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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.

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.