Middle takes the Fish Tail…and more news in Bird World

26 October 2022

Hi Everyone,

I hope that you had a really lovely afternoon.

It was not a particularly beautiful mid-afternoon on the Canadian Prairie. The forecast is for the temperatures to climb tomorrow and last for 3 or 4 days. Good days to go out and see the local wildlife. Still, today was not a disappointment. While waiting for three Canada Geese to cross a road, in front of them, down about 5 metres were three fauns crossing over, too. What a beautiful sight and, how nice it was that everyone slowed down to let them move at their own pace! At the local pond, there were about 200 Canada Geese on the soccer pitch with only a few in the water along with a lone male Wood Duck and a pair of Mallards.

Nearer to home, more than 35 Crows gathered in a nearby tree. It was only 1500, too early to be having a communal roost. Was there any Owl in the neighborhood that was bothering them?

This is a small corner of the tree. There were so many that flew in. Normally this time of year the Great Horned Owl comes by and all the Crows gather to usher it out of their territory.

The first of the Australian raptor families to have breakfast this morning appears to be the scrape box on the water tower at Charles Sturt University. Xavier came in with a nice bit of prey at 0726. The eyases were sound asleep until his arrival. Indigo ate first with Rubus joining in. Indigo then moved to the corner and Rubus continued eating. Where does he put it all? Then Diamond arrives. Xavier moves and eats some prey on the ledge. Diamond searches for leftovers. Meanwhile, Indigo is on the Cilla Stones wondering what in the world is going on?

It is a wet morning in Port Lincoln. Middle and Big are waiting for their breakfast fish to arrive.

A nice fish arrived and if you were watching that feeding, you might have been wishing that Big would get a few more bites! Now isn’t that a switch? Middle dominated the feeding from the onset to the ending. At one time, Middle turned away – possibly thinking Big would get grumpy if she didn’t get any fish! Then after Big got a couple of bites, Middle leaned back in and ate some more! Goodness. There was no beaking although I noticed Middle eyeing Big and wondering and one time Middle raised its neck up and looked directly at Big as if to dare her but…nothing happened. Big is docile. Meanwhile, Middle still does a lot of snatch and grab even if the feeding is directed at him. Still a little nervous. That is a good thing. It will bode him well for his future.

I love how Middle opens his beak wide letting Mum know he is ready!

Middle just keeps getting bites of fish and more fish and all the while he is sitting right next to Big. Cautious but never as fearful anymore.

Big gets the lion’s share of that fish. Big doesn’t seem to care.

Want to know what really showed how much this nest has changed? Big got the tail and was playing with it. Everyone thought it would keep Big busy for a bit but, no. Mum had other ideas. She took the tail, gave a bite of the fish flesh to Middle and then Middle took and horked the tail — right in front of Big. Oh, hos this nest has changed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here is Big playing with the fish tail. Look. Middle is actually leaning down wanting to take it.

Mum took it from Big. She is pulling out the last of the fish flakes from it.

Middle has just gotten this fish tail and is beginning to hork it down. Ironically, Big didn’t even attempt to do that. Quite interesting.

Oh, how this nest is turned around. My money is on Middle. A true survivor. Maybe both Big and Middle will each get a sat-pak since Turnby Island will have no chicks. I think it would be very interesting to compare these two after they leave the nest.

At 0822 a freshly caught pigeon is brought to the 367 Collins Street scrape. What a chore Dad has trying to pluck with those four ravenous eyases waiting in line for food. I sure wouldn’t want that job. Does anyone remember how in 2020 little Dad was almost pushed off the ledge trying to feed those three big girls?!

Some eyases would rather run up and down and flap their wings than eat!

Oh, gosh. It sure was a good start to the day at all of the Australian nests. I am especially delighted because Middle is really coming into his own. What a joy to see that osplet hork down that fish tail today. Just little tears of happiness. The trauma is over on that nest. Please join us now and watch these two grow and fledge!

Thank you so much for being with me to check on the breakfast meals in Australia. Take care. See you soon!

Thank you to Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross for their streaming cams where I took my screen capture.

Fish and more fish…Ernie sighting and Middle could pop his crop!

24 October 2022

It is just past 2300 on the Canadian Prairies on Sunday evening the 23rd of October. Within the hour we are supposed to have the beginning of thunderstorms that are forecast to last through all of Monday. We could use the moisture. It is always good when the trees and shrubs get a really good soaking before the ground freezes.

And we did. The thunder boomed throughout the nite and everything is soaked this morning. The wind is gusting and there are few birds at the feeders. The only ones that appear to be nonplussed by it are the Blue Jays. What a change from yesterday when the sparrows and finches were splashing about in the bird bath. Today they are hiding at their roost.

It is always great to get a picture of Ernie, everyone’s favourite Port Lincoln Osprey. This image was taken by Pam Hewstone and posted on Fiends of Osprey FB page. His tracking indicates that Ernie continues to hang around the Main Wharf and the ‘silos’. This image was taken at Delamare Beach where Ernie and Dad like to fish together. Oh, he looks so good. Can’t see how that talon is growing back in but, it looks like Ernie is having no problem catching good sized fish. He already has a nice-sized crop.

Friends of Ospreys have been erecting Osprey platforms. You might recall they put in place one on Turnby Island for the bonded couple whose eggs were always predated when they laid them on the ground. Sadly, the two eggs the couple laid this year are now 45 and 46 days old and deemed unviable.

Monday was a really good day at Port Lincoln. What a joy to watch Middle be able to enjoy a meal without once being beaked by Big. Ironically, if you just started to watch this Osprey nest and knew nothing of the background and what happened a little over a week ago, you will talk about how calming it is to watch the ospreys fed by Mum. Big is 36 days old and Middle is now 35 days old.

So far there have been three feedings on Monday at Port Lincoln. There will be more at all of the nests as Canada slips into evening and darkness.

They came at 06:57:57. That was a flat striped fish. The second fish was at 0908. Middle Bob got the lion’s share of that fish and waddled away with a big crop. The third fish landed on the nest at 13:07:52. It was a huge fish. Mum and the two ospreys are going to eat well. So far Middle is doing well and the last I checked he was already getting a nice crop. Just brilliant.

Middle is the chick closest to the viewer. Notice that nice crop. Just look at how much of that fish is left. Everyone is going to have a good feed — including Mum! Thank goodness.

Seriously. Did you think you would ever see Middle with a crop like the one he has on display?? And just look at Mum. The two ospreys full and she is finally getting to enjoy a fish lunch, too.

For two days now this nest has been calm. It took Big 33 days, not 28-30 to settle but, in the end, she did. Grateful.

Middle and Big are at the age that Mum can now roost over on the ropes if she wishes.

Middle and Big do a lot of preening all day long keeping those feathers that are coming in good shape. Oh, didn’t you love it when they left that Reptilian stage and got this gorgeous plumage that is coming in. ‘R’ and I decided awhile ago that the juvenile Osprey plumage is much prettier than the adults.

Rubus and Indigo have had their second feeding. Xavier flew in with what looked like a Rainbow Lorikeet to me – and I will happily change that. It is the closest I could come to identifying that multi-coloured prey item that Xavier brought to the scrape at 092921. Oh, Rubus was ravenous. I have no idea where this eyas puts all of this prey but this wee one sure has an appetite! Xavier does a great job feeding his babies. Diamond doesn’t arrive for 12 minutes- the feeding is almost over. Xavier fed both Rubus and Indigo nice big bites.

A nice big pigeon arrived at 11:40 – all part of a crash landing by Dad (?) into the scrape box. Everyone had their fill and immediately starting working on those leg and wing muscles. ‘H’ notes that Dad fed them for 12 minutes while eating himself for about 25% of the time.

There was once again 5 feedings at the 367 Collins Street scrape yesterday. They came at 0634. That feeding lasted 18 minutes. A second feeding was at 1120 for 16 minutes then the 3rd hot on the heels of the second at 1140. Then there was a break with the 4th feeding at 1707. The Melbourne Four ate well. Then Mum came in with a pigeon at 1859 and looked around and only fed for about 1.5 minutes. ‘H’ thank you for the times and the notes. Mum and Dad need to coordinate their delivery times!!!!!!!!

It is now past midnight. The day is halfway over at our Australian nests. Everyone is doing fantastic. The Melbourne Four are growing faster than any good weed in your garden! Rubus continues to bug Indigo by following her everywhere. Such a sweet character. Most of all Middle is a confident Osprey. That nest is just so satisfying to watch now. I do hope that it continues. The banding of Big and Middle will take place in about 3 weeks.

In migration news, there are no new transmissions from Karl II and Kaia. Last time we heard from them Karl II was near Aswan in Egypt and Kaia was in Chad. I can also not find any new information on Bonus who has spent much time in Romania. The real news has come from little Waba who was in Turkey, flew near to Beirut and is now in Israel and has been feeding at some fishponds there.

While it is expected that there will be little transmissions coming from certain areas in Africa, I really do hope that we hear from Bonus soon.

The Bald Eagles are continuing to do their nest building. For those who watched Little Bit ND17 at the Bald Eagle nest in St Joseph’s Park in South Bend, Indiana, both Mum and Dad have been working on that nest. They are making slow progress. Harriet and M15 are doing a terrific job. Both couples lost their nests – Harriet and M15 in Hurricane Ian and the nest at Norte-Dame just fell apart. It is amazing what eagles can do in a short period of time. An adult has been on the perch at the Achieva Osprey nest in St Petersburg. I could not see its head to determine any markings. That nest is going to need a lot of work. In Redding, California, Liberty and Guardian are also working on their nest. Liberty has been using this nest for 18 breeding seasons. She has fledged 26 eaglets and has had 3 mates. Liberty is 24 years old and Guardian is 9 years old. Bald Eagle season is not far away!

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Friends of Osprey and Pam Hewstone, Port Lincoln Osprey, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Looduskalender, and Charles Stuart Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.

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.

Egg shells and pelting rain…late Saturday in Bird World

22 October 2022

Good afternoon everyone,

It is a miserable day in Port Lincoln and in Orange…I have not checked Melbourne but, it is also kinda’ miserable in Winnipeg today, too. Grey skies, bare branches on brown trees, spits of rain falling.

The view of the landscape looks dead and barren – but, we all know that, in fact, those leaves are protecting all of the pollinators and invertebrates. This is why you must Leave the Leaves! It will annoy your neighbours to no end but, you will be doing yourself, your garden, and the birds a huge favour.

Ah, I have a retraction. Books do not work for everyone. My friend, Sally Michener, a Vancouver ceramic artist, told me once that “getting old is only for the brave!” She was 83 at the time and stunningly beautiful, always in red, and still working on her ceramic sculptures. She is right. Eye sight goes. Our minds still think like the 20 somethings we once were but, sadly, not always our eyes. ‘H’ reminded me that e-Books are fantastic as you can adjust the size of the font. Of course! ‘H’ also tells me that both of David Gessner’s books on Ospreys are available as e-Books. Thanks, ‘H’.

Wow. A ‘V’ of Canada Geese just flew over my head. They were as low as the top of the telephone poles in the back lane. Incredible.

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It is pelting down rain in Port Lincoln. Mum is soaked and I wonder how miserable the kids will be with their circumstance? Dad has proven himself quite capable of catching fish in rain and wind but the waters look pretty chopping. Wishing him luck today.

The weather at Orange is rather bleak also. So bleak that Diamond was finding scraps to feed Rubus and Indigo decided she would just eat one of the egg shells being tossed around all over the scrape.

Look at Rubus in the corner flapping those little wings. Oh, this eyas melts my heart.

Indigo’s wing feathers are growing, can you see them? And if you look closely you will see the feathers on the tail coming as well. Such a beautiful healthy big sister for little Rubus.

The skies look heavy with rain – like the ones above me. But, oh, look at that green…green fields and trees. Beautiful.

The little raptors hatch so that by the time they fledge, their prey will be waking up from winter.

The first prey of the morning came in at 062814 in Melbourne. Am I seeing things? Has it stopped raining in Melbourne?

I absolutely cannot tell you what it is!

Well, Dad did not disappoint Mum at the Port Lincoln Osprey barge. he brought in a nice big fish for breakfast. I cannot tell you precisely how much fish Big got or Middle but Middle stayed by the side of Big and you could tell from his movements that he was snatching and grabbing. At one point I saw a small crop. This is all good. There was no cowering in the corner in submission to Big. Let us all send warm wishes to this nest for continued fish and both chicks eating. Here are a few images of that feeding – and bravo Dad!

It is always reassuring to see the chicks on all the nest fed first thing in the morning. The three are starting out the day absolutely fantastic. Let us hope that this continues.

Thank you so much for joining me. Everyone is good. Let us hope that all of the nests in Australia continue with many prey deliveries today. Take care everyone. See you soon!

Thanks to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Leave the Leaves!, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, and Charles Stuart Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.

The loneliest scrape…and other tales from Bird World on a late Thursday

20 October 2022

It is 16 degrees C. The sky on the Canadian Prairies is mostly cloudy. While the Blue Jays and Crows remain and the squirrels continue their feverish collection of nuts for their winter cache, it appears that most of the Dark-Eyed Juncos have departed. Oh, I will miss them flitting about with that touch of white on their tails as they move. There are still some Canada Geese in the City feeding on the grass and, tomorrow, I hope to get out to count geese and ducks. It didn’t work for today but, tomorrow should prove to be another light-jacket day. How grand!

In the Mailbox:

‘H’ asks: Do falcons hunt at night?

The answer is yes! This may be particularly true for urban falcons. Most observers of falcon streaming cams were first introduced to the night hunting with Alden, the new mate of Annie at the U-California Berkeley Campanile scrape box. It was thought that Alden used the light of the city to help him hunt for prey. It was also noted that the smaller birds that the falcons feed on are active in the dark and it would make it easier for Alden with the challenge of one of his legs. Sean Peterson also believes that it is safer for Alden to hunt at night, away from the eyes of other large predators (save for owls). This breeding season we have seen M22 bring prey in before dawn at the 367 Collins Street scrape.

From the Bookshelf:

I took Helen Armitage’s Lady of the Loch with me to several appointments this morning to read while I was waiting. I am going to go back and put a highly recommended star by this small packed volume. If you want to learn about nesting behaviour, this is an excellent read. If you want to learn about some of the myths about Ospreys that were debunked by Lady, it is a good read. At the time, scientists believed that Osprey females could only lay a total of 20 eggs! Lady laid more than 58!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Making Waves:

The floofs from the 367 Collins Street scrape have moved!!!!!!!!!!!!!! With the smallest one capable of stomping (‘A’s word and a sound she loves to hear) up and down the gutter, the Melbourne Four have packed up their bags and headed to the scrape at the other end of the ledge. This scrape is protected from rain and from the sun. They will no longer wonder if they are being roasted. Of course, we will have to rely on sounds and it would seem from yesterday that feedings also took place at that end of the building’s ledge. In the past there was great reluctance to move the camera during the breeding season. This is why, I believe, that Mirvac will be installing a second camera so that we can enjoy the eyases wherever they are until they fledge.

Of course, that does not help us observe them now but the policy has been very clear. The falcons will not be disturbed in order to change the camera for public viewing. That would go against all of the State wildlife laws.

So, at present, let us hope that those little fluff balls run back and forth to get their legs strong!

At 0606 you could hear kew-kew-kew coming from the ledge. The eyases were obviously enjoying their breakfast.

Nest News:

Deb Steyck made a video of Harriet and M15 working on their nest yesterday. Enjoy!

‘H’ caught the pair of Bald Eagles on the Mispillion Harbour Osprey nest again! This time they are removing a nice big stick. Replenishing their own nest for breeding season? I had no idea until ‘H’ told me that some of the Bald Eagles stay in Delaware, on the coast, for the winter. I know that we have one couple in our City and a single male downtown that stay year round. It has to do with food availability not necessarily weather.

Thanks ‘H’.

It was good to see that Middle had some of the late fish. I was extremely impressed when Big moved away from eating and Mum waited, watched, and then physically moved the fish over to Middle and fed him. This meant that Middle did not have to walk up to the fish and have Big turn around and beak him again. Middle had already been subjected to many attacks yesterday. I wonder what today will hold for our osprey nest on a barge in the marina at Port Lincoln?

Yesterday, it was very interesting watching Rubus and Indigo at the scrape in the water tower at Orange. I don’t know if it is just me or if it is the timing of the Starling deliveries, but these two eyases seem to much prefer Crimson Rosella’s, Rainbow Lorikeets, and ducklings compared to Starlings — like their mother, Diamond.

Diamond was up and out of the scrape at 060657. The day is waking up at Orange. Rise and Shine Rubus! Serenade us with your very loud voice.

Rubus and Indiigo had a leftover breakfast at 070557. Then…

Xavier arrives with a King Parrot at 074247. Rubus and Indigo are delighted!

Look at Rubus. Isn’t Dad going to feed us this morning? Xavier is a wonderful feeder. Maybe later, little Rubus.

Big is known to usually wake up in a good mood at Port Lincoln. That mood seems to change later. I am hoping that the whooper of a fish that came in at 064931 will just keep Big happy. Maybe Dad will find another one. he ate the head – Dad has to be as hungry as Mum at times. Keep them coming!

It is almost impossible to see who is eating until around 0717 when you can see Middle gets bites. I cannot tell you who got the most of that fish with confidence. I hope that Mum was able to feed them rather equally with some for herself.

Mum is beautiful and so are the two osplets. Just look. Little angels. Oh, I hope it stays that way from now on. Middle is closest to us. The black line on the top of its head is smaller. What a beautiful beard, Middle.

Middle looks like it has a crop forming. You can certainly see Big’s crop! Oh, I hope this nest has a good day today.

Oh, wish for fish for Port Lincoln!

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

Thank you to the following for their videos, their posts and their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Deb Steyck and SWFlorida Eagles, ‘H’ and Mispillion Harbour Osprey Cam, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Port Lincoln Ospreys, and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.

What a Mum…and other news Early Thursday in Bird World

20 October 2022

Hello Everyone,

I am starting tomorrow’s blog at 2130 Wednesday evening. I have appointments early tomorrow morning and I wanted to give you an idea of how the day progressed at the three nests we are watching in Australia. When it is Thursday in Canada, it is Friday in Australia. The day names and dates can be confusing!

I have started with Port Lincoln. The two falcon scrapes are stable although anything could happen at any moment to change that. The worry remains with the barge nest. It is Thursday in Port Lincoln. Big should have calmed herself by now but, she hasn’t. The nest is very volatile. Warning that the images below are graphic. They show an intense attack on Middle. The feeding after 1500 is very interesting. Notice that Big does keep Middle from eating but, Big is full and leaves. Mum moves the fish and feeds Middle. Don’t ever think she doesn’t know what is going on!

At the Port Lincoln Osprey barge, the water was calm and such a beautiful blue compared to the choppy waves of day’s past. At 063037 a whole fish arrived. It was so early that everyone hoped that this early start meant it would be a day full of lots of fish. So far, that has not been the case. As I write this, it is after 1300 and Big is attacking Middle. I was actually fearful that Big would push Middle off the nest.

I really had to hold my breath. It was clear that Big could have pushed Middle right out of the nest.

Middle stayed in the tight ball of submission and then, a few minutes later, wanted to move away from being by Big. Big started attacking Middle again.

Mum used a stick as a diversion. Would this get Big to turn away from attacking Middle?

Well, it did for a minute.

Mum flew off. Middle slowly slithered to the other side of the nest. Even if Mum brings in a fish right now, it is doubtful that Middle will get any. Big is in key form to block her younger sibling in any way that she can. The attack was ruthless. It was meant to instill fear and to let Middle know that Big is the boss. The food is for Big. Middle might get some, maybe, but only if Big is full to the tip of its beak.

I don’t think we will see any attempt by Middle to snatch and grab ————– I want to be wrong.

Another fish came in at 1504. It was a zebra fish. Big ate and ate and ate and starts on Middle at 1551. But Mum still has some fish left. And look! She physically moves the fish over to Middle so that it can have some food. I am so impressed.

Middle is hungry and hoping that a fish will arrive. Look at the crop on Big.

The last fish of the day arrives at 1838. It was almost impossible to see how the feeding went. The camera was zoomed out and then to close but Middle ate.

Big has a crop but did Middle eat??? Yes, he moved carefully around big to get to Mum’s beak.

Middle keeps its head down and waits for big to move out of the way.

Now Middle has its head up and is facing Mum. You can see its crop. Middle will not go to bed hungry.

The only problem at the 367 Collins Street scrape is the heat and that is slowly becoming not a problem as the eyases – at least three of them – can easily run dwn the gutter to the other end of the ledge to get in the shade.

The parent is afraid that the fourth hatch is wandering too close to the ledge. Notice the attempt to pull back by the scruff of the neck. It is interesting that both parents use that method to get the chicks to stop doing what worries them – or to get them out of trouble -.

Mum leaves and the 4th hatch gets down into the gutter into the shade. I couldn’t help myself. What a cutie pie this one is. Love the nice big crop. All of the Melbourne Four are being well fed. Food is not a problem. My concern until now was the absences of Mum, the heat, and lack of shade. The four have solved that themselves by growing big and strong. They can get in the shade and simply wait for Daddy Door-Dash.

A little Buddha.

It is now very difficult to gauge the feedings at Collins Street because of the heat from the sun on the scrape. The eyases are down at the other end, in the other scrape where there is no camera, and we can hear the calling and feeding but we cannot see it now.

Rubus and Indigo have had a Starling breakfast, a feeding started by Xavier and finished by Diamond. Four and a half hours later, at 11:01:10, Darling feeds her two babies a Crimson Rosella. Oh, they loved it.

Oh, just look at how fluffy Indigo is and Rubus is getting fluffy, too. That white down will fly off their wings, their bodies, their heads revealing beautiful juvenile feathers. Underneath those feathers will be an insulating layer of grey.

More feedings arrive. The last one is a Starling at 1829 and neither Rubus or Indigo are hungry. They have crops from the earlier feedings! There are some gorgeous pictures of Diamond with Rubus before the arrival of that prey item.

Indigo would rather play on Cilla’s rocks and be in the corner wandering around that eat any more food. These two are absolutely adorable.

Peregrine Falcon scrapes are peaceful and fun to watch. The eyases are always cute in every stage of their development. in the Charles Sturt Falcon scrape, the way it is set up there is no fear for too much sun and rain on the chicks. They are protected. This close proximity to their lives allows us to begin to see the individual characteristics of each of the eyases. What a joy this can be.

Thank you for being with me for this brief look at the state of the Australian raptor nests. Take care everyone. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams: Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.

It’s not all about Raptors…

19 October 2020

Hello Everyone,

The first feeding at Port Lincoln was a good one, save for Mum. She has two big osplets that could sit and eat fish all day. It went well. Smiling. And it is warming up on the Canadian Prairies. It is 11 degrees. Tomorrow is going to be beautiful. It will be a good day to get outside!

In the Mailbox:

‘D’ writes:  You often mention some of the visitors to your garden. Today the squirrels were included again. I’m interested to read that you have greys & reds visiting. As you know, the greys in the UK are a threat to the reds, I wondered are yours a different species?

A Eurasian Red Squirrel in the Scottish Cairngorms. Photo by Dani Connor Wild.

I did not know the answer to ‘D’s question right away although I knew that Little Red looked different than the Red Squirrels in Sweden and the UK that Danni Connor photographs. First, the Grey Squirrel is native to North America. It was introduced by the aristocrats of Victorian England as an ornamental species. It is very invasive and there are currently issues with it and the native Red Squirrel in the UK. In my garden, Dyson is the matriarch of all the grey squirrels. She has been visiting for several days now along with her babies from the summer. One of the young ones prefers the shelled peanuts and will spend hours eating on the deck in the warm sunshine. Dyson will eat anything – as all of you know – but she much prefers the solid seed cylinders with the nuts and cranberries.

There are 3 species of Red Squirrel: the North America species is the one that lives in my garden in Canada. It has no ear tufts and has a single cache of winter food. Previously, Little Red used the garden shed but now he stores his nuts in the wood box. Eurasian Red Squirrels live in the UK, Europe, and parts of Asia. They have tufted ears and spread their cache to multiple sites. Gosh, I loved that question. It made me look closer at my own garden animals and it reminded me of Dani Connor Wild. I wonder what she has been up to?

Well, Dani has made a trip to Scotland to see rewilding and reintroduction measures. Wow. So today, it isn’t all about raptors…but imagine, in these Scottish Highlands, in the spring, the call of the Osprey!

Making News:

Arthur was caught on camera this morning at the Cornell Red Tail Hawk nest on the Fernow Light Tower. He delivered a single stick at 083726. It sounds like Big Red has chosen which nest to use for the 2023 breeding season. Arthur looks good!

Here he comes!

I am so fascinated at how they fly so fast, talons first and pull back their wings so they are not ripped off as they go through the metal bars.

Well, hello Arthur. It is really nice to see you!

The streaming cam at the nest of Southwest Florida Eagles Harriet and M15 is now operational again after Hurricane Ian. You can watch the nest building progress.

Australian Nests:

It is sometimes not easy watching raptor nests. We love the little gaffers and take them to our hearts. Most of the time all is well but, there are times when it isn’t and we lose one. Many of us still want to honour Little Bob in some way. We are discovering more and more about the legislation and who is responsible for permissions. When ways to help ask for intervention permissions are discovered, I will certainly let everyone know.

This was the day that the beaking began – 26 September. Little Bob was so tiny next to Big.

This is a video put together by Bart who is one of the moderators on the PLO chat that is beside the streaming cam. Difficult but best to watch to the very end.

I had so hoped that Big would settle and let peace reign on the Port Lincoln Osprey nest. That happened until it didn’t. Let’s hope that today is different.

The first fish of the day, a whole fish, arrived on the nest at 063037. This is early and very promising. So far Middle has been able to have bites without being beaked…although he is visibly cautious of Big. Middle is the furthest away from the screen.

Oh, it’s a nice big fish. Middle is so hungry and he is getting so good at the old snatch and grab. Every once in awhile, if you watch it live, you will see Middle jerk over to the right with its head and shoulders – trying to get his head out of the way if Big goes for him. But so far, so good. Big has ‘leaned over’ to try and remind Middle she’s the boss but Middle is so hungry he is doing a great job at snatch and grab. Hopefully Big will be friendly all day long but she tends to get grumpy…let’s just blow the grump out of her!

Now Mum needs some fish. That was a great feeding. Back and forth between the two. Middle finished with a really nice crop. So happy. The feeding was over at 064511. Fifteen minutes to vacuum down a big fish with its head. Gracious.

Pigeons are arriving early in Melbourne. Mum waddled down the ledge with the breakfast offering before the lights in the CBD had come on. It was 05:42:33. That pigeon was finished and Mum flew off with a couple of bones at 06:06:22. Gosh, just stare at the eyases with their thick white down and the feathers beginning to appear. Many are beginning to look like that cartoon hero The Hulk or maybe a member of the Australian Rugby team as they try to stand and use their wings for balance.

Just look. One trying desperately to stand and the other all fluffy with a nice tail. They are changing before our eyes. The thermal down will be beneath their feathers when they finish getting their plumage before fledge.

Everyone looked like they were full.

At Orange, the kids are awake. Diamond has been restless and Rubus is starving! No surprise there. It is shocking how much prey that little one can hold. And here I must admit something. I think that Rubus is one of the cutest eyases I have ever seen. He is such a character. They are waiting for breakfast to arrive.

Xavier flew to the ledge with a freshly caught unplucked Starling at 055658. The kids got a lesson in plucking. Rubus was so excited to see prey that the little gaffer was happy to have a mouth full of feathers.

Xavier was visually delighted that Diamond was not in the scrape and he got a chance to feed Rubus and Indigo.

It is 1536 on the Canadian Prairies. The sky is cloudy but it is warming up. The Juncos are busy eating Millet off the red garden carpet, their favourite. What a nice way to close the blog with the garden birds happy and all the chicks in the Australian nests fed. It is such a relief that Middle got a good feed this morning first thing.

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

Thank you to the following for their posts and streaming cams that made up my screen captures: Dani Connor Wild, SWFlorida Eagle Nest and D Pritchett Family, Cornell Bird Lab, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, and Port Lincoln Ospreys.

Update on SE30 and other news in Bird World

18 October 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

The sky is a beautiful royal blue, not a cloud in sight and it is -7 on the Canadian prairies. On Thursday, we will warm up by 21 degrees C to a balmy +14. I cannot wait! I can hear the Crows but, I cannot see them. The Blue Jays are already finding corn and the Dark-eyed Juncos are still in Canada. Meanwhile, despite the break in the weather which will be wonderful for checking duck numbers in the city, it is time to get all the winter closed organized, put up the garden hose, and store the summer deck furniture.

Making News:

The birders on the ground, the bogs, near the Discovery Centre really need a great pat on the back. Thanks to them we have been able to keep up with SE 30 since s/he fledged. It is fantastic. Just look at this beautiful juvenile. SE 30 looks to be doing very well, indeed. Here is the latest announcement:

I really hope that SE30 is getting their own prey and we do not see them hungry in a couple of weeks on the sidewalk. Send this wonderful fledgling all the good wishes that you can!

Floods in the State of Victoria, Australia are causing havoc for wildlife.

Native wildlife flee flood waters across northern Victoria – video | Environment | The Guardian

From the Bookshelf:

I realized that I should create a link to a book list for everyone who is searching for books on different species. I promise to do that over the winter. The latest questions have been about books on Ospreys – questions about general knowledge books and others more specific. ‘H’ gave me a poke and reminded me about one on migration that she had just read. So here goes a few good books on Ospreys to get you started.

I have two books by Alan Poole on Ospreys. They are excellent reference books. The first is Ospreys. A Natural and Unnatural History published by the University of Cambridge in 1989. There are no beautiful colour photos – it is all black and white. The second is Ospreys. The Revival of a Global Raptor published in 2019 by John Hopkins University Press. The second book is much more up to date in terms and has made use of technological advances in studying raptors to bring our understanding up to date on their lives.

One of favourite books on Ospreys is by Roy Dennis who has spent the last 60 years re-introducing raptors to England (and various sites in Europe such as Spain). His book, A Life of Ospreys, of 2009, is very good.

The book that ‘H’ wants me to mention to you is Belle’s Journey. An Osprey Takes Flight by Rob Bierregaard. As ‘H’ points out it is not just for children and the reviews say it is loved by those from 9 to 90. The book follows a fledgling osprey with a satellite tracker to her winter home so it is about migration and its challenges. Extremely well written and easy to understand.

A book by David Gessner, Soaring with Fidel, is written on the back of Belle’s Journey and offers us even more insight into the migration of the Ospreys from the NE US who winter in Brazil and Columbia. It was this book that has prompted me to want to take that journey to Cuba to sit on top of a mountain with thousands of Ospreys flying overhead. Gessner is a charismatic writer and it is not boring science which one can easily get tired of reading. Like Bierregaard, Gessner weaves the science in like a parent sneaking cough syrup to a child and they didn’t know it.

Gessner wrote a second book, Return of the Osprey. A Season of Flight and Wonder. Equally well-written but this one focuses on the breeding season, not migration.

I know that many of you are fans of the Chesapeake Bay nest. Inside An Osprey’s Nest. A Photographic Journey through Nesting Season takes you up close and personal with a newly mated pair of Ospreys. Their eggs fail. Will they accept foster chicks? It is a moving narrative with incredible pictures.

If you can get your hands on a copy, The Scottish Ospreys from extinction to survival by Philip Brown is excellent. It was published in 1979 and, like the first Poole edition, has mostly black and white illustrations. It is an excellent historical account of the demise of the Osprey in the UK and the reintroduction efforts that have been underway by individuals such as Roy Dennis.

Lady of the Loch. The Incredible Story of Britain’s Oldest Osprey by Helen Armitage tells the story of Lady who lived to have 20 breeding seasons in Scotland. It gives special insights into the challenges of the birds, banding, etc. I thoroughly enjoyed it but, it is a book about a special Osprey in a special area of Scotland. If you are looking for general knowledge, get the second book by Poole first.

There are many others some written to celebrate a notable male bird such as Monty or the history of Rutland Water and its Ospreys. I will include that in the long list for everyone.

Nest News:

The Melbourne Four are really keeping the two first time parents busy. All of them are capable of getting up and down out of the gutter and today, when I checked, there were only three near the scrape. I did, literally, hold my breath til that little head appeared. ‘A’ loves the sound of the eyases ‘stomping’ down that metal piece of the ledge because it means that they can now get into the shade. ‘A’ might be happy but the parents appeared particularly bewildered at times today.

Poor Dad got down in the gutter with them. Just think. These two didn’t have one eyas to deal with in their first season as parents. Oh, no. They got four…lively, healthy, fat little bottomed chicks. It is perfect.

The parents must have decided that they need to bring in more pigeons. The kids had pigeon at 0646. When next I checked, Mum had come in with a pigeon and was feeding them at 1014. They had just settled down and Dad comes in with ‘something’. The time was 1031. I hope someone identifies this prey. It was big. It is so odd watching the falcons attach the prey to one taloned foot and hobble down to the scrape. It was not clear if the eyases would get up to eat but, they did. They are literally just ‘eating machines’ right now growing bigger and bigger every day.

At Orange, a Starling showed up at 0624. It was the parrot that came in at 0941 that caused the most excitement. We are going to start calling Rubus ‘Rubber Neck’. My goodness Xavier makes Rubus work for his dinner. He jumps and stretches and squeals. Meanwhile, Indigo just sits there occasionally raising her neck and sometimes taking food out of Rubus’s beak. She is unphased by his antics. What a live wire Rubus is. ‘Full of vinegar’ my grandmother would say rolling her eyes thinking of all the mischief he will be getting into.

At Port Lincoln, the day was rather calm. A large fish came in early – at 0748. It was followed by a much smaller fish at 0954.

At Port Lincoln, Dad brought in a total of six fish for the day. That is a lot of fish! Just look that the crop on Big.

Middle also has a crop. Yippee. I hope that Mum was able to get enough fish for herself. It is so hard to determine that when she is so busy feeding these two growing osplets.

Rubus and Indigo ate well. The Melbourne Four could have had more prey but, the osplets were stuffed. In all it was a good day in Australia yesterday. The Melbourne Four can now easily move up and down the gutter to the scrape so they can get into the shaded area if Mum is not about.

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

Thank you to the following for their posts and/or streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Amazon, Sydney Sea Eagle Cam FB, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 by Mirvac, and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam.

Breakfast in Australia…raptor style

17 October 2022

Hi Everyone,

As promised, here is a wrap up of the breakfast feedings in Australia. It is all good!

At the Port Lincoln Osprey barge, Mum started doing her talon dance and calling to Dad at 07:46. He was over on the perch attempting to have the head of the fish he had just caught for his breakfast. She could see him. At 07:468, Dad gave in to Mum’s cries and flew the fish over to the nest.

Today Big is 30 days old. Peace descended this morning as both Big and Middle had their breakfast. No beaking. No intimidation. Just two siblings happy to be fed their breakfast by Mum.

Mum had some bites in between feeding the osplets and, at the beginning, Big got more bites per bites given than Middle. In the end, both ate well.

Notice the juvenile feathers coming in on the osplets. They are moving out of the reptile phase. Fantastic.

At 367 Collins Street, Dade flew on to the ledge and gave Mum a well-prepared pigeon. Mum fed the Melbourne Four who tore through that pigeon in record time. It arrived at 0646 and Mum flew off with a few leftovers at 0701. 15 minutes. Wow. Those eyases are getting quite large and strong. Gosh, they are gorgeous.

At the scrape box of Indigo and Rubus on the campus of Charles Sturt University at Orange, Xavier flew in with a Starling at 06:24:49. I have expected Indigo to run into the corner in fear after the Starling head yesterday. Diamond took it immediately feeding the two and flying out with the leftovers at 063727.

Indigo hit the bull’s eye on the camera with a rather large ps. That is why the image is cloudy.

All of the chicks in Australia did very well. They were all fed early. What a wonderful way to begin the day.

I have had several requests in the mail for a book list of readings for Ospreys and ‘H’ has suggested that I remind everyone about another book on Ospreys. That is coming up tomorrow! More in-depth news will also be coming tomorrow but, for now, smile. Port Lincoln is, as predicted, settled – at least for the moment and I am hopeful that it will stay that way.

Thank you for being with me. Take care all. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross.

Grieving? Surviving? A look at Bird World early Monday

17 October 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

The mailbox has been full. So many of you want to help Port Lincoln get permission to intervene should siblicide be apparent in the future, others want to know if raptors grieve, many are concerned about the hot sun on the eyases at Collins Street. What a caring community you are! It warms my heart. The outpouring of love for a small little Osplet still brings tears to my eyes. It is so very difficult to lose one. It takes days to get over it.

It was cold this morning. -5 C. We are being told that there will be a warming period with temperatures up to 13 the end of this week. I hope to go and check on the ducks that day and see how many remain in our City. The past two evenings there have been no Canada Geese flying overhead. It will be interesting to see how many are still at the nature centre.

Today, however, I have appointments this afternoon and I expect that my breakfast updates will be arriving late.

In the Mailbox:

My mailbox has been full of individuals wanting to help Port Lincoln get permission to intervene in the future should the fish deliveries run low. I would love to help Port Lincoln secure those permissions. There have also been other questions – ‘Is Big really a survivor’. My answer is below in Nest News’.

One question that is very important comes from ‘F’ who writes: ‘Will the mother know that the youngest has died because of the eldest?’

The answer to that question is ‘yes’. At times Mum even ‘sat’ on the three when they were younger to stop the beaking. Other osprey and eagle parents have tandem fed so that the youngest gets food. There are many examples of tandem feeding but Harriet and M15 come to mind immediately. I always refer back to the falconer, Laura Culley, who insists that raptors have a higher level of communication than humans – that we have lost that ability. She would answer this question with this answer, ‘And why wouldn’t the Mum know what happened?’

Animals and raptors grieve. A few good examples are when the sweet Moli chick, Ka ha Ki’i died unexpectedly in April 2021. His Mum, Laysan Alobatross, Kauai often visited his grave. When Hope and Peace died on the Captiva Bald Eagle nest due to a rat brought to the nest by their dad, Joe. The rat had eaten rodenticide poisoning. Both parents stood over the body of the second dead eaglet and mourned before it was removed for testing. Humans only believe that we are the only ones with feelings and emotions. This is not true. One of the best books on the subject of the emotional lives of animals which includes grieving is Marc Bekoff’s The Emotional Lives of Animals.

It also needs to be understood that most parents do not get the opportunity to grieve because they have other chicks to care for. In many instances, when the male has felt responsible for the deaths of the babies, such as the case with Joe at Captiva, he is mourning, leaves the area, and never returns. Connie, his mate, has taken several mates since him but has had no eaglets to fledge.

Making News:

The attacks on Chris Packham and calls for his BBC presence to end by Nature’s Alliance are not being supported by the public. Indeed, the mood of the UK population is to support nature, not harm it. Packham has been lobbying to end grouse hunting on the hunting estates. He has had his gate and car burned and has threats on his life.

Public support for Chris Packham overwhelms Countryside Alliance’s latest vindictive attack – Raptor Persecution UK

If you ever travel to Port Lincoln, they have indicated that Ervie often perches in front of the hotel on the Morton Bay Fig Tree.

Nest News:

‘A’ wrote to me about Indigo and the Starlings head wondering if anyone would mention it. Yes, it comes in the form of a video! It was one of those great moments in streaming cam history.

If Academy awards could be given out in Bird World surely the ‘Starling Head Scene’ at the Orange scrape would rate right up there with the shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.

Here is the video of that interaction with the Starling head.

If you are trying to watch Orange today, you will not be able to see the chicks from the side camera (the one I use) very well. Indigo made a perfect bull’s eye with a big ps. I wonder if Cilla will climb up the 170 steps to get to the scrape to clean it? I am betting she does.

Victor Hurley has announced that Mirvac is going to install a second camera at the 367 Collins Street scrape in Melbourne next year. He also indicated that the camera will be panned out to show part way down the gutter now that the eyases are becoming more mobile. There are a few of us that are hoping they might put a shade cover and rain protector – like they have at the other end of the ledge on the other scrape box – on this one if the F22 is going to continue leaving her eyases alone in the heat of the day.

‘H’ takes very detailed notes of the Collins nest. She counted 5 feedings yesterday: At 1640 for 15 Minutes; at 0852 for 11 Minutes; at 1343 for 19 Minutes; at 1657 for 27 Minutes; and the last feeding at 1920 for 21 minutes. I was astounded at how fast the Melbourne Four could eat a large pigeon yesterday. Thanks, ‘H’.

At Port Lincoln, Big decided a few times that Middle was getting too much of the fish. The beaking was not awful and you can see Middle has a crop in the image below but, the intimidation remains. I continue to hope that her angst slows. Today Big will be 30 days old.

Let us all be clear about ‘Big Bob’. Big Bob did not have to survive anything. Big Bob ate all the fish including times when Mum needed some nourishment, intimidated its siblings, even killing one of them by starvation and possible injury. Right now Middle is having to survive Big and Middle is ‘clever’. She went under mum’s bottom and between her legs to eat. Middle has -so far – survived Big. Sadly, Little did not. Big has had no hardships to face. As ‘H’ puts it, ‘How would Big do if it went up against some bird bigger than it?’ ‘H’ is right. We would then see if Big was a survivor. The use of the word is misleading – you must survive ‘something’ to be a survivor.

The weather was not good yesterday with choppy water and strong winds. Dad managed to bring in several fish – one whole and the others partially eaten. The fish he brings in must feed four. If he is to provide, he has to eat. So does Mum. Dad has no control over the wind, the waves, and the gulls that attack the Ospreys wanting their fish. We hope that he has much better fishing luck today. The nest could use some large fish to fill everyone up — and I am speaking mostly of Mum since you will notice that both Big and Middle had crops at several feedings.

With the first eggs due to laid in November for the Bald Eagles in the US, ElfRuler has posted links to all of the streaming cams for eagles. Here is the link to their blog to find those cams.

LINKS TO STREAMING CAMS | Bald Eagles (elfruler.com)

Thank you so much for being with me this morning. I hope not to be too late with the breakfast news today. Take care all. See you soon!

Thank you to all those who wrote in with questions or comments, to ‘A’ and ‘H’ who are my eyes in the middle of the night, and to the following for their posts and streaming cams that make up my screen captures: Raptor Persecution UK, ElfRuler Blog, 367 Collins Falcon Watchers, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam.