Late Wednesday in Bird World

11 May 2022

It is really sad when a ‘bird Mum’ seems to consistently favour one healthy chick over another especially when the eldest has already killed the third hatch. Today, at the UFlorida-Gainesville Osprey nest, this preference for the dominant one over a healthy chick crying for food was so evident despite Middle making every effort to get around to the beak to eat even after being intimidated. Yes, Middle held back for his own survival. But it is ever so sad. He is a big healthy osplet! A fish came in at 18:24. Big did the dominance stance and Middle pulled back. By the time Middle got around on the rim to Mum’s beak, she had already given Big part of the tail. Big ate the entire fish! At 18:37 Mum find a few little scraps on a bone and gives it to Middle. At 18:38 Middle takes the bone to self feed trying to find any meat no matter how dry to eat. Middle has not had much food today but he has had some. Yesterday he ate well so we are still good.

Middle will be a survivor if he does not fall off or get shoved from the nest – he reminds me so much of Tiny Tot Tumbles at Achieva last year. She dug around in the nest eating very old, very dry leather hard pieces of fish. They kept her alive. She was self-feeding proficiently before the two older siblings. TTT became the dominant bird on the nest and if any of those three chicks were to survive their first year, my money would be on her. In fact, this winter Tiny Tot Tumbles was photographed at least once on the Achieva nest so she is still alive. That is wonderful and it will be the same for Middle. I just wish these osplets were banded.

It is worth noting that Big already had a ‘big’ crop before the last feeding of the day ever took place! There she is in the middle of the nest standing proudly with all the commotion going on around her. Middle is trying to get to the fish.

Sadly, all Big has to do is raise her head and walk towards Middle and he cowers. This behaviour was noted to have changed over the weekend by ‘R’. Prior to Friday, Middle had been getting up to the fish faster and, therefore, getting more food. The assumption is that food was scarce over the weekend when there was a big storm and the camera kept cutting in and out. It is also believed that Big took this out on Middle.

Middle is watching Big and trying to move up to get some food. If Mum would just turn herself 45 degrees both chicks could eat. It is very frustrating.

Mum found a few bites for Middle. Just think. Big ate an entire fish and Middle got a few bites.

Middle is continuing to chew on the fish bone to try and find some food.

Is there enough food coming on the nest for Mum and the two chicks? There was yesterday and with Big having a crop before she ate this entire last fish today, I would say yes. Certainly 50% of the fish could have gone to Big with 25% each to Mum and Middle and everyone would have been fine. It is not a case of everyone starving. It is sad.

This female is not the only one that has favoured one chick over another. I am certain that you can think of several instances if you have been watching streaming bird cams for awhile. One thing I have noticed – at least in Bald Eagles – is that the Dad will often step in and feed the ‘left out’ sibling. I know it sounds crazy but some of those males that are now Dads would have had big sisters who demanded and took everything. Do the males remember?

The two eyases at the CalFalcons scrape do not have the problems Middle has at UFlorida. Alden caught a pigeon today and I am absolutely certain Annie was delighted. Everyone can fill up and there will be leftovers in the pantry.

Precious.

Look at those two. Talk about a different atmosphere in a nest! I will take a falcon any day.

Bursting little crops. These two will cuddle up under Annie and sleep well.

Cal Falcons put this feeding into a short video clip.

So happy to see the promotion of the Peregrine Falcons and their chicks on The Campanile. Anything that will bring awareness to the raptors so that we can help make their lives a little better is welcome – and one way is to educate people.

It is so far, so good at the Manton Bay nest. Both chicks have eaten and it appears that the third chick is hatching. It will be a relief for Mum to be only brooding instead of brooding and incubating. I really hope that chick is doing just fine in the morning – the one that was exposed. It looks good so fingers crossed.

Ferris Akel has a pair of Red-tail Hawks near to where he lives and today he has discovered that Betty and Barney have three chicks!

Two Habours 1 is doing just fine. She looks out on that gorgeous cobalt coloured water that surrounds her nest in the Channel Islands.

The winds are really gusting at the West End nest of Thunder and Akecheta not far from Chase and Cholyn’s nest at Two Harbours. Let us all hope that the eaglets do not want to stand up and get near that ledge. Hunker down.

There are big storms about and it is very, very gusty at the MN-DNR nest of Nancy and E1 Harriet, too.

Harriet has brought in a really nice fish. You can see it in the image above. She is trying to stand in the violent wind gusts and feed Harriet. Sweet. These two are doing well under the circumstances.

We have another storm coming that is predicted to drop 40 mm of rain in a short period of time tomorrow. I wonder if this same system will hit the MN-DNR nest?

Those same winds are blowing at the Osprey platform at the Arboretum on the grounds of the University of Minnesota. The couple have one egg so far. Last year they fledged one chick.

Here is the link to their streaming cam:

The prey that is brought to the urban nests versus those in rural areas can be very different. In New York City, the Red-tail Hawks seem to live on pigeons and rats. Today a rat was delivered to the Presidio Red-tail Hawk nest in San Francisco. It makes me nervous. I am very much against the use of rodenticide and when the rodents are slow and easy catches they are often poisoned. The hawks thus die of secondary poisoning. It is tragic and unnecessary!

Fingers Crossed!

All White-bellied Sea Eagle fans should be checking in on the nest around the beginning to mid-June. Lady and Dad have been making nestorations and mating.

Of course, we will also be gearing up for the CBD Peregrine Falcons in Melbourne (late August or September for the cam to return), Xavier and Diamond at their scrape in Orange, and of course, the Ospreys at Port Lincoln. It is mid-May now. Time is passing.

Thank you for joining me this evening. Hopefully we will wake up to three healthy chicks at the Manton Bay platform tomorrow and several more fish for UFlorida-Gainesville! Tomorrow is pip watch for Richmond and Rosie. Take care everyone.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Sea Eagles@BirdLife Australia Discovery Centre, Cal Falcons, Presidio RTH, Ferris Akel, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Osprey Cam, Explore.org, UFlorida-Gainesville Ospreys, MN-DNR, and LRWT Manton Bay.

Sunday in Bird World

8 May 2022

I had a lovely letter from a friend today. Like so many of you, she has tried to watch some of the nests and gotten attached to the birds only to have her heart pulled out when an older sibling shoves them out of the nest or, in other instances, they were starved or killed by beaking or both. It has been a tough year on the nests. Tough even for me.

My friend pulled back and has started watching Big Red and Arthur’s nest on the campus of Cornell and Annie and Alden on the grounds of UC-Berkeley. Her question this morning was simply to clarify that hawks and falcons do not practice siblicide. The answer is that the preponderance of siblicide occurs in eagles (some species more than others), egrets, boobies, herons, pelicans and, I am going to add ospreys to that list. There are lots of reasons, some explored in earlier blogs but, it is safe to say that if you wish to enjoy the birds on the streaming bird cams, falcons and hawks are generally a very safe choice as are ducks and geese. Because the chicks are precocial (are fully feathered, can walk and swim and eat on their own), the ducks and geese need those chicks to hatch all at once. They delay full incubation until the last egg is laid. Robins do that too and so do hawks and falcons. In this way, the older chicks are not that much bigger (normally) than the younger. The ducks and geese and even the raptors need their babies to fledge at the same time. So incubating them so they will hatch together really helps. It is called synchronous hatching (begins hard incubation after the last egg is laid) as opposed to asynchronous hatching where the parent immediately begins hard incubation immediately after the first egg is laid.

Annie makes a kind of chee-up sound when she is ready to put the food in the beak. The chicks learn this. Annie might well give the biggest chick the first few bites but she immediately moves around giving the youngest some. Today, the Peregrine Falcon Mother at the scrape in Oudenaarde, Belgium spent a whole hour making sure that all 5 of her eyases were fed and full. No one left the table hungry. The Mum at the Manchester NH falcon nest also has five eyases. Not one of them went to bed hungry tonight despite their size difference – the smallest had a big crop just like the largest. That is what hawks and falcons do!

A clump of falcons in a feather bed.

The wee one is piled on top of one of the siblings to stay warm.

Here is Annie feeding her two chicks brunch on Mother’s Day! Watch carefully how she feeds the big one several bites, then the small one and then goes back and forth. Annie is a pro. Both are well fed!

And Cal Falcons posted a second feeding just a short time ago. It is really cute. Alden checks in on the babies who see an adult and open their beaks. Alden is so cautious and nervous. He It very happy when Annie arrives with lunch he provided in her beak from the other side of the scrape!

Here is that feeding. It is so cute. Notice how the little one gets full and then gets back up for some more. Falcons eat everything. Nothing is wasted. Some of the first few bites were feathers.

It doesn’t get much better than the Red-tail Hawk nest of Big Red and Arthur at Cornell. Little L4 is growing and surviving and well, I haven’t watched this nest 24/7 but I have not seen any tendencies by the oldest to interfere with the younger ones.

SF Bay Ospreys does not want us to forget about Rosie on Mother’s Day. I adore her and if there is an osprey nest in the US to watch that is stable – Rosie and Richmond in SF are it! —- Oh, and no. Ospreys are not prone to Avian Flu. They eat fish.

Someone dressed Spirit up. LOL. Good thing I don’t have the software to do this!!!!!!! I think Spirit is a Jackie in the making, too.

We all loved Kindness at Glacier Gardens. Many have been watching the nest cam and have been wondering where the eagles , Liberty and Freedom, are. Well, they have built a new nest! Here is the video reveal of that find:

The camera remains off line at the UFlorida-Osprey nest if you have been checking. It is unclear when it will be back on. If it is a mechanical issue it would be difficult since the chicks are older.

The Dale Hollow Eaglets have full crops and are drying off today. These two are doing very well.

Some nest renovations have been going on at the National Arboretum. I don’t think DC9 appreciated some of those branches.

At 2045 there is still no hatch at the Manton Bay nest of Blue 33 (11) and Maya. Maya is certainly restless tonight.

If you are a fan of Lady and Dad at the Sydney Sea Eagle nest in the Olympic Forest, you will know that the couple have been working on the nest. We are about three weeks away from the first egg being laid.

Where’s Ervie? Looks like he still hanging around the barge area of Port Lincoln. Fine by me!

It has been a busy day at all the nests and throughout different regions as the migratory birds continue to move through. My garden was full of White-throated and White-crowned Sparrows again today along with the usuals. The little Chickadee couple love to have a swim!

The Starling was not so pleased when Dyson came along and wanted some of the seeds.

Dyson is trying to try out for the local gymnastics team. Look at her stretch! She is losing her winter fur and the tufts on the end of her ears are gone. Ironically, her tail is much thicker. She is in really good health. Good to see.

I hope that each of you have had a wonderful day today and, hopefully, if you could, got to spend some time outside. It really is energizing – even for a few minutes sitting in the sun. Thank you so much for joining me today. It is a joy to have you here. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and/or FB pages where I took my screen captures: SF Ospreys, Cal Falcons, Peregrine Falcon Network, Cornell RTH, Friends of Big Bear Valley, NADC-AEF, DHEC, Sea Eagle Cam@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, and the LRWT.

Is it a hatch or two for Diamond and Xavier?

The Guardian is hosting its 2021 Australian Bird of the Year competition and the Peregrine Falcon has made it to the final 20. The voting started out with 50 birds with 5 eliminated each day. The falcons are down to the wire! Here is the link to cast your vote for your favourite bird but Xavier and Diamond really hope that you will vote for the Peregrine Falcon!

Oh, Mom, Dad, and the four eyases on Collins Street in Melbourne really hope that you will also vote for the Peregrine Falcon! No pressure. LOL.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/ng-interactive/2021/sep/27/australian-bird-of-the-year-2021-vote-now-for-your-favourite

It is not even dawn in Orange, Australia. Diamond has been restless all night. Is there a hatch? a pip? Most bets were for a hatch on 7 October and that is today!

Xavier always arrives around 06:00. Today it was 05:56. He approached Diamond cautiously. She is not going to budge. Something is happening! Diamond is sure not giving away any hints. Xavier is making sounds like a squeaky door. I wish I could speak falcon. Must be an eyas under there breaking out of its shell. Yippee..confirmation to come later.

Remember, you can watch the action here:

WBSE 27 and 28 are awake as dawn approaches. Both have been joining in the morning duet with their parents. Just precious. Both are healthy. WBSE 27 will be 10 weeks old on Thursday and WBSE 28 will be 10 weeks old on Saturday.

In the 10th week, the sea eaglets are fully feathered. There could be some downy feathers still developing under their wings. All of the feathers should be out of the blood quill and hard pinned now. The two will do much more wing flapping. Watch for them to stand more on one leg. The eaglets can self-feed but Lady does love to feed them, too. Flapping up to the branches is called branching and this can occur at any time as can fledging, the first flight.

I hope that the Pied Currawongs do not chase them out of the forest. They need to imprint the way back to the nest so they can get their flying better. Fingers crossed.

There appears to be a problem with the streaming cam of the Port Lincoln Ospreys. I can tell you that three fish had been delivered to the nest before I went to bed last night. The first was at 9:00:06, the second at 12:02, and the third was at 14:09:33. Everyone was really full with that last feeding. Based on the past history of fish deliveries that would have been at least two more fish deliveries if not three before the day was over. The nest is doing really well.

All three had big crops like these two. The third osplet has passed out behind the two still looking hopefully at mom to see if there is anything left.

Wonder what those brown things are in the nest?? What has Dad brought in?

Remember to vote for your favourite bird and also mark on your calendar 9 October for the Big Bird Count. I will remind you again how to participate the day prior.

Thank you for joining me. We are definitely in for a hatch or two or three today at Orange. Xavier is waiting anxiously! Take care. Stay safe!

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

Saturday in Bird World

The wind is calm on the Canadian prairies today. The sun is pouring through what leaves are left on our trees, the squirrels are carrying off peanuts while the Dark-eyed Juncos dance around on the deck. It is 22 degrees C. Just a perfect day.

I wish I could trade my day for the one that the Port Lincoln Ospreys are having to endure. The winds at 6am were blowing from 40-45 kph with the promise that they will rise to 50 kmp. That is a horrible storm. There are white caps and rain. Everyone is hunkered down. No fishing for Dad for quite awhile. Mind you, he did well at 34 mph maybe there will be a break for him to go out fishing. The Bobs will be starving when fish does arrive. Or let me put it this way, they will think they are starving. Tiny Tot on the Achieva Osprey nest went without food for 72 hours twice. So it is not like they are really going to starve but, it could destabilize the food security of the nest that these parents have worked so hard to foster. That would be a tragedy so, send positive thoughts to this nest.

In the image below the wind is blowing parts of the nest around and causing them to flap. You can see them hanging over. Dad is hunkered down on his perch. Despite the fact that the osplets can thermoregulate better now, we do not want them to get damp and get a chill. Mom is really down low in the nest so that she can keep them warm and dry. I just bet she isn’t letting anyone poke their head out!

Meanwhile over in Melbourne, the four eyases had their first feeding at 6:12:50. Mom has left the nest for a much needed stretch and break.

Oh, such sweet little fluff balls. Here comes a parent with part of an old stashed pigeon. Doesn’t that sound just yummy?

Breakfast has arrived. Wake up everyone.

At 7:10:34, Dad comes in to check on the babies and feeds them the remaining pigeon left in the scrape box from the earlier feed.

Mom gets a good break. In fact, one of the things you should be noticing is that Dad loves feeding his babies. So instead of just seeing Mom feed them, look carefully because it could just be dad!

Dad is actually very good, just a bit messy for Mum’s liking.

Mum arrives back. Just look at how beautiful she is. She has to be pleased that she chose such a good mate. Dad is an excellent hunter and when he is not feeding his babies he is out hunting for Mum and them. It really makes this family quite magical!

Dad loved getting time to incubate the eggs but he is no so good at brooding them. He seems quite nervous around those wiggly white bodies.

Mom watches from the ledge. Someone made a joke on the FB page of the falcons. It was Dad telling the kids to listen and make a great effort to eat because Mum was watching to see if he did a good job feeding them. Looking at this image it seems really fitting.

Dad is off and Mum is back to brood. They still have their little mouths open. It sometimes seems that it is an automatic reflex when an adult comes around.

Mom is inspecting the nest and wondering what that thing is that Dad has left.

For those of you that have not watched this nest before, you need to know that Dad is a very messy feeder sometimes. On several occasions he has been known to bring a fresh pigeon into the scrape box and pluck it right on top of the chicks. Imagine dark grey feathers everywhere – and I do mean everywhere. Dad pays no mind. He can also make a real mess of the chicks with these really fresh birds. There is no need to worry if you see blood on them after one of his feedings – they are not hurt, just in need of a face cloth!

This is the third feeding of the morning and it has just turned 08:07. Here comes Dad with part of a pigeon he had in the cupboard.

Wakey, wakey. Time to eat again!!!!! You want to grow big and strong.

I noticed some of the FB members wondering what Dad is bringing in for the meals. 99% of the time it will be a Melbourne special – a pigeon. Urban falcons thrive on them. Indeed, one old falconer told me that is the only reason for pigeons – so they can be turned into falcons.

In contrast, the little eyases that will be hatching over in Orange, will have a different diet. There won’t be any pigeons. In fact, they might like a nice fat pigeon. Their diet consists of lots of Starlings and various types of parrots. But the real treat at Orange are the Cicadas. They hold them in their talons like a popsicle to eat them. Such a treat. Last year, Xavier and Diamond’s only hatch, Izzi, at them by the dozen. It is a wonder he did not turn green.

A clump of cuteness.

They keep each other warm but oh, they are so wiggly. I wonder how Mum gets any sleep.

Mom returns from her break. That egg shell seems to have caught her attention. I wonder if she will eat it? Those shells are full of calcium and Mum depleted much of hers making those four eggs.

She sure is beautiful! Have I said that twice?

Over in Orange, they are taking bets on when Diamond and Xavier’s eggs will begin to hatch. Yesterday, Diamond was not wanting to share incubating with Xavier. Many thought this might signal an early hatch. My bets are on the 7th or the 8th.

In Sydney, the two White-Bellied Sea Eaglets have recovered from the horrific storm with its very strong winds and hail. The impact on the nest was caught on camera. Notice the trees whirling in the background. This had to be terrifying for these young eagles. Here it is:

It is still misty in Sydney but the bad weather is gone.

Wow. That little sea eagle is really getting some air under those wings. I think it even surprises its sibling.

Now look. “See, I told you I could do it too!”

27 is standing up on the rim of the nest. It will not be long til there is more flapping and jumping all over the nest – and branching. These two are so healthy. Their interactions are so cute. Both would like a big breakfast delivery!

A last glance at the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge. The winds have not let up but the sun is out. The weather report says they might decrease slightly later in the afternoon. Mum is working hard to keep those three under her, out of the wind and the rain. Oh, let us hope that a break in the weather comes.

Other than Port Lincoln, every nest is doing well. Xavier and Diamond continue to incubate their three eggs while Mum and Dad are feeding the four eyases every hour or so in Melbourne. WBSE 27 and 28 survived the storm and are busy getting their wings and legs strong.

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

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