Everyone is Fine

One of the problems with the streaming cams is the ‘chat’ feature. There, I have said it. The same persons come on at different times of the day, every day or every other day and say the same negative things. There is one on the PLO chat that always says, ‘The mother never feeds the youngest’. ‘Mama feed in order never feeds youngest.’ Seriously! Either they can’t rewind, they don’t watch, or they just want to stir the pot of negativity. I think that it is all three. So I go back to an old cry out of mine, Streaming cams need 24/7 knowledgable moderators. They need them to stop the bots coming in and they need them to stop the negative chatter. Even more so, if something happens on the nest they need to have emergency numbers to call or place them on the streaming cam site at the top.

The Port Lincoln Osplets are doing fine! And it is something to celebrate. One of the most exciting things is to watch them grow and grow they are. these chicks are losing their light grey coat to get their second, darker grey down. You can see the little pin feathers starting. still, each retains a tiny bit of its egg tooth. The feet are getting bigger, wings are growing and the tiny tails are starting. If you didn’t know the different species at this age of 9-10 days, just look at that beautiful dark mask going from the cere to behind the eye. that is the distinctive bandit mask of the Osprey!

Dad comes in with another fish. the big one that arrived earlier is all gone.

The chicks are getting bigger and they don’t like sleeping under Mum like they did when they first hatched. Indeed, these little ones seem to be tumbling around underneath her much of the time.

Awwww. Such sweeties.

Because it is winter in Australia, the light changes early. Mum and dad are on the nest and the little ones are getting another feed. Notice how much they have grown. It is as if someone took them and stretched them in the last couple of days. They no longer appear like short fat little chicks but they are entering another phase where they will begin to look like thin reptiles with long necks.

Each is doing fine. There were not as many big fish yesterday as during the high winds but everyone was fed and no one was left out.

I literally checked into the White Bellied Sea Eagle nest to see how WBSE 27 and 28 are doing. Lady was feeding them.

That is WBSE 28 at the front of the nest with its big crop. 27 is practicing its self feeding with a small piece of prey.

This nest will have two fledges this year. I so hope the Pied Currawong do not chase them out of the forest so they can fly and return to the nest for more meals while they get their piloting in order.

Lady Hawk did a video of 27 learning to self-feed and 28 nibbling at her toes. Have a look:

The strongest earthquake in recorded history hit Melbourne, Australia yesterday.

https://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/earthquake-tremor-felt-across-melbourne-and-regional-victoria/news-story/f8dca1048e48a500e3308dabedfdb1c1

The first thing many thought of were the four eggs of the Peregrine Falcons at 367 Collins Street.

Dad was on the eggs at the time and stepped off wondering what was happening.

Everything appears to be fine. Some buildings were damaged but no one was killed. Thankfully! We are nearing hatch watch for this couple.

In Orange, the running joke has been Xavier wanting his time to incubate the eggs.

Xavier doesn’t want to give up his incubating time!

Do you know why the male Peregrine falcon is called Xavier? It is one of those heart wrenching stories that makes you love this little male bird even more.

Diamond’s eggs were ready to hatch. Her mate, Bula, disappeared and was presumed dead. As we all know, the chicks would have died. Instead, enter a new male who starts helping with the chicks and raises them as if they were his own. Because he was a ‘saviour’ of the family, he was named Xavier.

The researcher at Orange is Cilla Kinross. She did a cute video of the negotiations between Diamond and Xavier over the incubation duties.

Everything is changing at these four nests in Australia. The White-Bellied Sea Eagles are exercising their wings, jumping, and hopping about. They are getting more adept at self-feeding although 27 still is the one that gets to the prey first it seems. Lady does come in and feed them. Branching will be next but not for a bit, thankfully. We will be watching for the four at Collins street to hatch in about four or five days. Diamond and Xavier’s chicks will follow but not for a week or a little more. And, of course, the change in the Osplets at Port Lincoln will be significant. They will look like skinny reptiles all wound around one another. The key is that everything, at this moment in time, is just fine. There are no worries. So enjoy them!

It is another beautiful fall day in Manitoba. The Green Heron has departed and I always missed it. Perhaps another will come next year! The Blue Heron is also gone but I hear there are waves of Dark-Eyed Juncos headed towards the city. I cannot wait. They love to pick apart my red outdoor carpet. Such cuties. I am going out for a long walk and to check on the Wood Ducks. Perhaps they will cooperate and there will be some good photos for me to share with you.

Thank you for stopping by. Check out the streaming cams – the birds are doing great. And, if you feel up to it, shut down the negativity. There is already enough in the world. The birds bring us joy. Take care all. See you soon.

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

Gabby is home!

Gabrielle or Gabby flew into the NE Florida Bald Eagle nest near Jacksonville today, 12 September. She might well have been on the branches or around earlier but I have her at 19:33:12. What a wonderful sight – to have this fabulous couple back safe and sound on their nest. Samson doesn’t migrate and he was seen several times during the summer and, in particular, when the camera maintenance was taking place. Both eagles got busy inspecting the nest. They were digging around and I wondered if they were looking for ‘Eggie’ that Samson had buried last year after Legacy spent so much time taking care of it, incubating and rolling. Oh, Legacy, what an amazing character you turned out to be!

They seem to have a discussion. Samson is on the left in his Levi Black Stretch ‘Slim Fit’ jeans and Gabby is on the right.

I wonder why they are so preoccupied with this one spot. Is this really where ‘Eggie’ could be buried?

More discussions!

All is right in The Hamlet. How comforting seeing them both roosting on their branches of the nest tree. In 2020, Gabby returned on 12 September, too.

This is their third season. In 2019 they fledged Jules and Romey named after Samson’s parents, Romeo and Juliette. This was their nest – indeed, it is the nest where Samson hatched. Last year, they fledged Legacy. What a sweetheart. She sure stole a few hearts!

After all the excitement in NE Florida, I decided just to check on the other nests. No hatch, yet, at the Port Lincoln Osprey Nest. For those of you watching the Royal Cam chick, it has been confirmed that her neighbour chick, SSTrig, fledged late afternoon 12 August nest time. SSTrig is the first chick to hatch and fledge of adults, Green Lime Green and Red Lime Black. Tiaki and SSTrig did not always get along very well. You might remember their little altercations.

At the White Bellied Sea Eagle nest in Sydney, Australia, a bird arrived around 13:35 13 August. WBSE 28 was more or less in a submissive pose during the entire feeding. WBSE 27 ate 98% of the gull. I wondered what had happened earlier but the camera feed would not let me rewind that far back – which seemed odd since you can always go back at least 8-12 hours. But, not today.

The adults at the 367 Collins Street Osprey Nest in Melbourne continue to make their well rehearsed handover of incubation duties. These two are really quite incredible.

I know that some of you have been wondering why dad isn’t bringing mom food at the nest. Prey will not be brought until the eyases hatch. There is a place up above the nest where the male leaves prey for the female so she can eat.

Here is cute little dad.

And beautiful mom. A couple more weeks. These two better rest as much now as they can! Four eyases. Oh, my goodness. I cannot wait.

Xavier has come in to see if he can have a turn to incubate their eggs. Diamond doesn’t get off and hand over the duties as easily as the mom at Collins Street. Poor Xavier. Xavier will often bring prey to the ledge and Diamond will take it and fly out of the scrape to eat it.

Why do the two falcon couples do this? keep prey out of the scrape when there are eggs? For cleanliness and not to bring in any parasites or insects. That is also the reason that falcons do not use twig nests.

It is now the wee hours of the morning on the Canadian Prairies. I didn’t intend to write another blog but, oh how I wanted to let you know about Gabby. This is wonderful news. Harriet and M15 are back at the SW Florida Bald Eagle nest. And that reminds me that I need to check and see what is happening at Captiva.

Thank you for joining me for this quick alert. Have a great Monday everyone.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: The Falcon Cam at Charles Sturt University in Orange and Cilla Kinross, The 367 Collins Street Falcons by Mirvac, NE Florida Eagle Cam and the AEF, and Sea Eagles Cam@ Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre.

The Birds ‘Down Under’

As people in North America wait for the Bald Eagles to begin preparing their nest and breeding, much of the ‘bird’ action is in Australia. I pulled up a map so that we can locate the nests that are on streaming cams in Australia – fondly known as ‘Down Under’ here in Canada.

I made the map a little larger just so it is easier to see. Or is it just me that is having trouble reading all that small print?!

The White-Bellied Sea Eagle Nest is in Sydney. On the map it is in bold letters on the lower right hand side. The Peregrine Falcon Nest of Xavier and Diamond is in Orange. Orange is just outside of Sydney. Trace your finger to 10 o’clock from Sydney and you should see Orange in grey letters. The 367 Collins Street Falcons are in Melbourne. It is at the very bottom in black letters. The Port Lincoln Osprey Barge is in Port Lincoln. This is a small place. Locate Adelaide which is up the coast from Melbourne on the left. Take your finger and move it over in a straight line to the left from Adelaide to the bottom of the second peninsula. There is Port Lincoln. I am also going to include Solly’s Location so you can see where she is relative to where she hatched and fledged at Port Lincoln. Solly is currently staying the majority of the time at Eba Anchorage. Solly is 311 km from the place she fledged. Prior to Solly, the general understanding was that Eastern Ospreys stayed much closer to their natal nest. The evidence from the satellite tracking is changing the understanding of how far these fledglings might travel upon fledging.

Time flies. It was only a blink and Pippa Atawhai, the 2020 Royal Cam chick, had fledged — BUT, that was a year ago. Now we are waiting for Tiaki to fledge soon. It seemed like the month of August just melted. It was on the 3rd, the 6th, and the 9th that Mum at the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge laid her eggs for the 2021 season. At this very moment, the PLO FB Page is taking guesses on when the eggs will hatch. Yes, we will be moving into hatch watch within a week. Baby Ospreys are coming. Oh, those lovely little reptiles!

Dad continues to bring in materials for the nest. They are all over the place – big strips of bark and moss – even some more rope. He is a bit of a pack rat. Thank goodness he hasn’t been bringing in toys like Richmond and Jack in the US. It would be awfully crowded if that were to happen.

Watching this nest is not for the faint of heart. Siblicide is a regular occurrence.

The dominant hatch of 2021 was Solly. She is 352 days old on 7 August, Australian time. Solly was considered, out of the two surviving chicks, to be the one that would succeed. We have no news of DEW and unlike Solly, DEW was not equipped with a satellite transmitter. Solly has, however, demonstrated that she can survive and today she flew rom her normal home tree in Eba Anchorage to Perlubie to check out the fish. This is the graph from the satellite transmission.

The Port Lincoln Osprey Project is taking guesses as to the date of the first hatch on their FB page. You don’t need to be a member to pick a day – go and have some fun!

The White Bellied Sea Eaglets are doing fine. They are well fed and protected and they are growing so fast. Those beautiful juvenile feathers are coming in changing their appearance almost daily. They had a good fish feast the morning of the 6th and the wee ones slept and then woke up and began picking up sticks and leaves on the nest moving them about with their beak. They are not yet steady on their feet but they are standing more and 27 was attempting to walk today.

Both still had big crops after the fish breakfast. 28 got the majority.

Just look at those beautiful colours coming in. 27 is on the left and 28 is on the right.

Here 27 is standing watching 28 play with some sticks with its beak and talons. The sea eaglets are developing at a normal pace. It is all good.

The golden glow of morning fills the scrape box of the Peregrine Falcons, Xavier and Diamond, in Orange.

Each parent takes turns incubating the eggs so that the other can have a break. Diamond will do the overnight incubation and Xavier will be the security guard.

Here is a short video of the hand over of incubating duties from Diamond to Xavier:

Remember that the males are about 30% smaller than the females. Xavier works with his feet and wings to get those three large eggs under him so they can all be warm.

It is even harder for the tiny male at the 367 Collins Street nest who has four eggs to warm!

Mom arrives for her turn.

She is working her wings too to get those four eggs under her.

Looked at how poofed out all those feathers are. Wow.

Here is Dad. His feathers are all poofed, too. He is so tiny compared to mom. My goodness – he really does have to work to get all four under him properly.

After wiggling about he gets everything settled. We will be looking for hatch towards the end of September.

Thank you so much for joining me. All of the birds in Australia seem to be doing just fine. We will watch the sea eagles change colour before our eyes and anticipate the arrival of the Ospreys. It’s a few weeks before falcons start hatching. Take care everyone.

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

PLEASE NOTE: I am taking my computer in for servicing. I hope to have it returned to me sometimes on Thursday so I will be back with another newsletter Thursday or Friday.

Third Egg for Diamond and a Rescue

Saturday Morning. I don’t think that this Swainson’s Thrush knew that he would be spending so much time with me. I suspect that he did not know that he was in for an adventure and a car ride.

Indeed, it is unclear how this little one wound up behind my kitchen in the grass. There were no window strikes. He turned around and faced different directions and thinking that it was simply stunned, I waited for 45 minutes. Still nothing. It tried to fly but that wouldn’t work so…….into the comfort of the transport box on soft, soft sheets and away we went to Wildlife Haven. It was still alive on arrival. Thank Goodness.

As I answered all of the questions by the intake helper, it was a reminder that it is migration season – something we have been talking about for several weeks. Juveniles are finding themselves in trouble all over the place – so what do you do?

  1. You should have the phone number of your nearest wildlife rehabber in your contact list. Check and see if you have that and it is current.
  2. As much as you would like to, please do not feed the wildlife anything – anything. It could cause the to be worse. No cow’s milk, no baby formula! You can offer them a very shallow bowl of water – think saucer actually so they don’t drown.
  3. Do not pet them. The bird or animal is stressed enough. Any undue stress could cause them to have a heart attack.
  4. Keep them in a quiet, dark place. I have a large box that my organic groceries come in. On each side are holes for handles. This is good for the air circulation and allows the box to stay warm and dry while at the same time they are not seeing you.
  5. Don’t let your pets around the injured bird or animal.

Swainson’s Thrush does, during migration, often find itself in back gardens and parks. It often gleans for food on the ground. In our case it could also have been at any one of the feeders or on the ground where the other birds kick off seed. Something, however, had caused it not to be able to fly. It wanted to but just didn’t have the battery power. I hope that it does well in rehab and is on its way to its winter home soon.

Speaking of wildlife rehabbers, they love donations. Many of the raptors like to play with toys. Did you know that? It helps them from being bored. I cannot imagine being a Red Tail-Hawk imprinted on humans that cannot be allowed to fly free. The rehabbers are always in need of food including rabbit and cat/dog kibble. Many rehabbers post a list of wanted items on their website and, of course, they are happy for donations no matter how big or small. So when you think of gifting, think of these folks that are not for profit and survive on donations, please.

Our wildlife rehabber also has one other concern for people who feed the birds. “If you feed the animals in your yards, they may learn to depend on the availability of food from you and may not store for the winter months. So if you are going to feed later in the fall, it is best to continue feeding until the spring months.”

There is very little news out in Bird World. Birds are flying or sitting on eggs. The only ones that seem to be feeding little ones are the White-Bellied Sea Eagles and that continues to go well. Those babies are getting big. Look at those beautiful juvenile feathers coming in.

WBSE 28 can give as good as it gets. This nest has turned around for the good.

Tiny Little’s dad, White YW, is still in his territory as of this morning.

Aran still remains at the Glaslyn Nest. Mrs G was last seen on Sunday, 29 August. Aran does not normally leave til the middle of the month so his presence is not unusual. I need to check on the dates for White YW.

Can you see Aran?

Another male that is still at home is Louis up at Loch Arkaig. In fact, Louis is still feeding Aspen and Alder. I am not sure when it was that Dorcha left on her migration. This makes Louis’s fledglings some of the last to migrate. Here they are sunning themselves on a branch. — You will recall that Louis’s mate, Aila, did not return from migration this year. He made a nest with his new mate, Dorcha, away from the old nest with the camera. Louis is simply a fabulous dad. He even fishes at night if the family needs food. We wish them all the best when they do leave and look forward to their safe return next spring.

Last but never least, Diamond, the Peregrine Falcon in the scrape box on the ground of Orange University laid her third egg this morning around 06:29. Will she lay 4 eggs like the female in Melbourne? or will this be it and she will start the hard incubation. We wait and watch.

Thank you so much for joining me today. Take care and stay safe. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or FB Pages where I took my screen shots: The Falcon Cam Project Charles Sturt University and Cilla Kinross, The Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest, the Friends of Loch Arkaig FB Group, Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn, and the Sea Eagle Cam@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre.

Waiting for diamond to lay her first egg, 2021

Diamond laid her first egg of the 2020 season at 04:16:09 on 27 August! She looked uncomfortable during the day with her rear all puffed up. How grand! Here is the video of that magical moment last year. If you have never seen a bird lay an egg, have a good look. They go into labour just like human females. The egg inside is very soft. You have probably noticed that the female birds do not immediately begin incubating the egg once they have laid it. This is so the air can harden the shell. In fact, Diamond is not going to start serious hard incubation til all of the eggs are laid. This is so the eyases will be born closer together, be a similar size, and not have the issues that eagles and ospreys have with the tiny third hatch.

There are now two Peregrine Falcon nests in Australia on streaming cam. If you miss Annie and Grinnell then please check out either of these. This is the link to Diamond and Xavier’s camera. There is a chat and excellent moderators. There is also a FB page.

We continue to wait for the 2021 egg!

The other Peregrine Falcon nest is on Collins Street in Melbourne and that happy couple are already incubating three eggs. Last year they raised triplet girls. I just love this couple.

And before everyone gets nervous, don’t. There is more of a ledge in front of this scrape box than in Diamond and Xavier’s.

Falcons are amazing to watch raise their clutches. You do not get the sibling rivalry like you do in WBSE, Eagles, or Ospreys. That again is because the eggs are not hard incubated until all of them are laid. So sit back, relax and watch the fun!

Here is the link to their camera. There is no chat.

Tiny ‘Not so Little’ is still around! She was eating a nice fish after 20:00 last night. Some are beginning to wonder if she will be too heavy to fly for migration! LOL. She certainly will be well prepared. Tiny Not so Little is a very clever girl. Let those others go first. Let dad work and stay a little later, too.

Tiny Little, there are so many people who admire you and cannot wait for you to return in 2023. Meanwhile I keep thinking that you might be like the Sharp-shinned Hawk that frequents my garden in the winter. He is an anomaly. Are you?

Migration is really in full swing here in Manitoba. There will be a number of celebrations beginning in a week as the various species make their way south to get away from the harsh winters of northern Canada. I headed off to one of the biggest environmental projects in our City – Fort Whyte. More about that later. Surely there would be ducks and geese and other species. Well, not so many. A very cranky male Canada goose did not like me within 13 metres or about 40 feet of his two juveniles and the female. He kept a good close eye on what I was doing.

It was early afternoon and the geese were obviously very thirsty. Their goal before the male noticed me was to get to the pond and have a big drink.

Some of them did this sort of gargling motion!

This beautiful little female mallard didn’t seem to mind my presence across the boardwalk. She watched me for awhile and then began preening.

And if you ever wondered, mallards are dabbling ducks. Much of the time this afternoon they were busy searching for food.

Often nature centres have special events surrounding migration. Our first is on 2 September but the one that I really look forward to is later in September or early October. It is the Goose Flight dinners at this very nature reserve I visited today. Enjoy a great meal with local ‘everything’ and then enjoy the thousands of Canada geese that fly in at dusk. It is unforgettable.

We are now putting out extra suet cylinders and topping up the feeders during the day plus all the water bowls. Just like Tiny Little needs a nice layer of fat reserves, all of the migrating birds need to eat well to help them be successful.

Brush up on the difference between the terms environmentalism and conservation. We are going to play a game in my blog on Saturday!

Take care everyone. Thank you for joining me today. Stay safe.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Cilla Kinross and The Falcon Cam at Charles Sturt University in Orange, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, The Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Cam.

The featured image is Xavier in the scrape box.

Sadly, no word about Malin

I want to thank everyone that took the time to write to me and tell me how much Malin meant to them. My inbox was overflowing with letters expressing love and concern for Malin. Everyone wanted to know if there had been any word. Mom and Dad have both been on the nest with fish and today Marsha (mum) was there around 13:00. She did not have any fish that visit. During her morning visit she called out for Malin. So far there has been no sighting of Malin.

After going through the FB postings of the Nature Center, we were able to determine that Malin was the middle hatch. The youngest just disappeared from the nest and the eldest died in the middle of June leaving Malin, the chick that hatched on 18 June, alive. Malin was then the middle hatch of 18 June. Malin then was 63 days old at fledge. The average age for ospreys to fledge in Wisconsin appears to be 55 days. That would make Malin’s timing within range. Most ospreys spend at least 2 weeks flying and letting their parents feed them. Many stay much longer. Two examples that I give are Tiny Tot and Tiny Little because they were both hatches that suffered from lack of food. Tiny Tot stayed on the nest for a total of four months or 120 days. That is more than twice as long as Malin. Tiny Little remains on the nest in Cumbria. She will probably fledge before Tiny Tot’s 120 days – but she could be on the nest for 90 days.

There is disagreement over whether Malin simply flew or whether or not Malin was frightened off the nest by an intruder. Experts on both sides see that exit differently. It is unfortunate. The result is the same – Malin has not returned to the nest. The reactions to looking for Malin are different depending on which you believe. If Malin just flew because he wanted to then no one would go and really look for him. If one believed that Malin was frightened off the nest, they might worry that he was injured and look harder. Something that has to be kept in mind is that Osprey feed their fledglings on the nest – it is preferable. They do sometimes feed on a branch but I haven’t found an Osprey expert that has ever seen an Osprey parent feed their fledgling on the ground. In fact, if a fish falls off a nest they will not go and retrieve it. Have you ever seen an Osprey eat or feed its chick on the ground?

The research continues to stress that the more food and the longer fledglings stay on the nest the higher the success rate. That is the reality. This nest is really empty. Malin defied the odds – he survived and thrived. We hope that the name we gave him carries him on into his life and that he is somewhere safe eating a fish.

Collins is looking down like he might be seeing Malin.

One of the last times the entire family was together on the nest. It was a real privilege to watch little Malin survive and then – thrive. Let us all continue to send this family positive energy.

19 August 2021. Malin, Marsha, and Collins.

It is about 7am in Latvia and Estonia as I write this. The Black Storklings are waking up and like all birds are a little more energetic than they are at mid-day.

The two images below are from Grafs and Grafiene’s nest near Sigulda, Latvia. At least one of the storklets has fledged. Perhaps today they will all fledge and find the feeder area with the beautiful Grafiene decoy.

It is now just after 9am in Latvia and there is only one storkling on Graf’s nest near Sigulda. This means two have fledged just like my source had indicated. The second fledge is the oldest at 7:43 am. He is 70 days old today. The youngest fledged at day 66 after hatch.

This was not the smooth flight of the youngest. The oldest hit the branch on the other side of the tree. There is concern about the condition of that wing. I will update you as soon as there is any information. Send your strong and positive wishes. I hope it looks worse than it was. How terrifying for this young bird to have that happen.

Even so, I hope that both of the storklings are at the feeder filling themselves with fish – just like we hope Malin is doing the same.

There is now only the middle hatch. Perhaps it will go today. They are 68 days old.

When I checked on Jan and Janika’s storklings in Estonia’s Jogeva County, no more fish have been delivered to the nest. It looks to me like every scrap of the old fish has been eaten – I thought that yesterday. Perhaps one really packed down in the nest is there, the one the storkling on the left is pecking at. All of the birds need food.

Hopefully all of them will fledge and find the feeder set up for them, too.

They are so beautiful with the sunlight filtering through the trees. The storks are 67 and 68 days old today. The average for fledging is 68-72 days. I wonder if Urmas will deliver some more fish?????

Do you watch the peregrine falcons, Xavier and Diamond? If you do, then you will know that part of the pair bonding ritual is Xavier presenting a prey item to Diamond. Diamond is not that particular but, she does not like Starlings. She cannot stand them. She has turned Xavier away when he had a Starling for her. They must taste terrible!

Well, today, Xavier hit the jackpot. Diamond was completely excited about her lunch – although some of you might not be. Xavier had a Superb Parrot for his beautiful Diamond. Make sure your sound is turned up.

Superb Parrots are also known as Green Leek Parrots or the Barraband’s Parakeet. These little beauties are native to southeast Australia living in the dry woodlands of New South Wales and Victoria. They were once considered vulnerable in terms of conservation and have been listed as Least Concern since 2012. Loss of habitation due to timber logging might well see this bird back as being vulnerable.

They are medium sized, growing up to a little over 15 cm or 16 inches in length. The bird in the image below is a juvenile. How do I know that? It has brown eyes while the adults have yellow-orange eyes. The adult male has a bright yellow face and throat while the female looks like the plumage that the juvenile has below. They eat fruits, berries, insects, as well as grains and nuts.

Awww. What a sweet face.

WBSE 27 and 28 continue to charm the socks off of everyone. That beautiful fluffy white down is in transition. They look a little like old terry cloth towels sleeping in their nest this morning in Sydney.

Look closely along the edge of the wing of WBSE 28 on the left. You will see the little pin feathers coming.

The pantaloons are growing too.

Just look at that sweet baby, WBSE 28, looking up at its parent. How adorable.

They are so young and yet, both of them know to pancake when there is an intruder near the nest. They hear their parents alarming and down they go. Look at the concern shown in the eye of WBSE 27 on the left. You can also see the black pin feathers coming in on both in this image better than the other one. But look – their cute little tails are growing!

You cam almost see them growing right before your very eyes.

Tiny Little still makes my heart skip a beat. Oh, what a wonderful bird you have turned out to be. You were so very tiny with that big older siblings but just look at you waiting for your breakfast to arrive.

Oh, you have that ferocious look like Mrs G. I have said that a couple of times but you do, Tiny Little. I hope you live as long as Mrs G and have lots of successful hatches. You really are quite amazing, Tiny Little.

Tomorrow is Saturday but there is no Ferris Akel tour this week. I was hoping to catch up with what is happening with Big Red and her family. It was raining yesterday but the Hornings were able to spot all four of them so we know that K1 and K3 are still with us – how grand, the 21st of August.

I am researching ‘Climate Driven Evolutionary Change’. If you know of bird arrivals or departures that are earlier than normal or later than what has been the norm, please let me know. It is much appreciated.

It is so nice to have you here with me. The rain is still falling – and that is a good thing. Please continue to send your positive wishes to Malin and all the bird families. Take care of yourselves. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots and video clip: The Falconcam Project at Charles Sturt University and Cilla Kinross. Collins Marsh Osprey Nest, Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Cam, The Eagle Club of Estonia, The Latvian Fund for Nature, and the Sea Eagles Cam, Birdlife Australia, and The Discovery Centre.

Things are happening in Bird World

Oh, just look who showed up on the NorthEast Florida Eagle’s nest in Jacksonville today – none other than the resident male, Samson! It was 7:23. So very nice to see you, Samson.

Samson is the son of Romeo and Juliet. Samson hatched on this very nest on 23 December 2013. Samson fledged and left the area on 22 April 2014. He was 120 days old.

At the end of the summer in 2019, in August, Samson arrived at the very nest he hatched from and began bringing in sticks. His mate, Gabrielle arrived on the nest on 12 September. In May of 2020, their two chicks, Jules and Romey, named after Samson’s parents, Romeo and Juliett, fledged. In 2021, they fledged their only hatch, Legacy.

The picture below is of Mama Gabby and baby Legacy in February 2021.

Samson has been seen at the nest earlier this month when the technicians came to do the maintenance on the streaming cam. Samson remains in the area of the nest year round while Gabby migrates to a cooler place – although, as I have often said, I don’t know where that would be this year! She will return about the middle of third week in September. It will be wonderful to see her back. Can’t wait.

Samson may be working on a nest but the Peregrine Falcon couple, Diamond and Xavier, are expecting eggs in the nest week or a week and a little bit. Their scrape box is high on a water tower, 170 steps up, on the campus of Charles Sturt University in Orange Australia.

This is Diamond on the ledge of the scrape box today.

Diamond and Xavier’s 2021 fledgling, Izzi, was the joy of everyone. As the only little falcon he was loved and spoiled by his parents. There was some concern he would not leave the scrape box before this year’s eggs are laid. This is the latest message from Cilla Kinross, the head researcher on the Falconcam Project:

“Izzi has not been in the box now for 12 days, but we think he is still around from calls. Parental behaviour continues as normal, with up to three prey a day being delivered to Diamond and preparation of the scrape. Eggs are expected soon (within a week or two). Generally, Diamond starts to spend more and more time in the scrape and her backside looks large and fluffy.”

You can watch Diamond and Xavier here:

Peregrine falcons are nothing short of amazing. Bald Eagles are big but Peregrine falcons are fast.

“Peregrine Falcon” by Jon David Nelson is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The cere is the yellow part above the beak. Now look at the nostrils in the cere. There are small keratinous tubercules – they look like small little bumps inside the nostril. Can you see the one on the right nostril of the falcon above? Those are what help the Peregrine Falcon fly so fast. They serve as a baffle against the wind driven in so forcefully into the lungs of the falcon as they do their high speed dives. Otherwise, their lungs would burst.

“Faucon pèlerin / Peregrine Falcon / Falco peregrinus” by FRITSCHI PHOTOGRAPHY is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Most Peregrine Falcons that you will see on a streaming cam lay their eggs in a scrape box like the one of Diamond’s, above. Some make their nests on the side of cliffs like this one in Japan on the island of Hokkaido.

“Peregrine Falcon Nest” by Ken-ichi is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Peregrine Falcons do not make their nest out of twigs. It is believed that this helps to stop the spread of disease from twig nests pests like flies and parasites.

Here is a short 8 minute video to introduce you to the speed and hunting methods of the Peregrine Falcon:

It’s a great day for Malin! We do not know Malin’s exact hatch date. There were three chicks and the youngest hatched on 18 June. Two chicks perished in the heat. So Malin is either celebrating his two month hatch today or his two month hatch and a couple of days, more or less. His first delivery came around 9am and the second was at around 10:14. Malin is really growing.

Here is Malin next to mum, Marsha, this morning. You can see that Malin’s feathers are growing in nicely. Look at the crossing of those wing feathers. Yippeeeeeee. This chick has really grown with the increase in feedings.

And look at all of the bands on those tail feathers – looks like a clean 7 – while, at the same time, there are no spaces in the wing feathers.

Oh, Malin, aren’t you beautiful?

Malin has gotten very good at self-feeding.

Malin is off to a great start on Wednesday. Terrific.

It is raining heavy in Latvia at the nest of Grafs and Grafiene. There are some concerns on the amount of energy used to keep warm by the nestlings.

This is the nearby ditch. It is 200 m long. A portion of the ditch has been closed off and fish have been placed in there along with the decoy of Grafiene. The decoy of Grafiene was painted by an active chat participant and installed by Janis Kuze, the ornithologist.

I hope you don’t mind if I correct just minor details. The beautiful decoy was painted by the active chat participant B.K. and installed by the ornithologist Jānis Ķuze.

These are the size of fish being put into the feeder for Grafs. So much effort. Now we need Grafs to find this spot for his three storklings. It is a very, very difficult time for everyone especially with the rain. If you would like to check on the Latvian Forum for progress, please go to this link:

The situation of the Black Storklings in the nest in Jegova County, Estonia appears to be better than in Latvia. Jan has come to the nest to feed the storklings 3 times today. The storklings have not almost completely depleted the fish that was brought on the 13th when they received their transmitters and bands. They appear to be healthy and doing well. It is not raining on this nest today.

The three storklings are 63 and 64 days old today. The average for fledging appears to be 71 days but then the young storklings are dependent on their parents for another two to three weeks before leaving the nest area. That only puts us at the end of the first week of September for these three to be totally independent of Jan — but, of course, those numbers are only averages. It appears there is time! We all must hope for these birds. They are very rare and very special and there has not been a lot of studies done on them.

The Forum with ongoing information on the Estonian Black Stork nest is here:

Karl II has been in to feed the one fledgling on the Black Stork Nest in the Karula National Park in Estonia. Oh, that fledgling was so happy. That was at 18:33. It is Urmas, the only chick still being fed by a parent. Kaia has left for her migration and the other two siblings appear to have left the nest area and might be travelling as well.

I know that there is much sadness and anxiety in the region for the two Black Stork nests that had late hatches. But, we must also celebrate the happiness of this nest in Estonia, that of Karl II and Kaia. Three fledglings, all healthy! We need to send the most positive wishes for Kaia and the other two siblings as they make their way through Europe trying to get to Africa. And, then, of course, for Karl II and this storklet when they begin.

I have tried to catch the number to confirm this storkling but it is nearly impossible.

The smudge is right in the way!

For those of you watching the North American migration, it kicked off Sunday, the 15th of August at Hawk Mountain in Pennsylvania. The first over the ridge that day was a Broad-winged hawk. There was a strong wind that day and the count was 4 Bald Eagles, 2 Cooper’s Haws, 25 Broad-winged Hawks, and 3 American Kestrel. If you would like to check on the migration in North American on the route over the mountains with all their thermals, here is the place to go for a day to day check in:

https://www.hawkmountain.org/conservation-science/hawk-count

It’s 17:16 in Cumbria in the UK and our second great Osprey chick survivor this year – Tiny Little Bob on the Foulshaw Moss nest – is waiting for dad, White YW, to bring her the teatime fish! Every day is a blessing to see you on the nest, Tiny Little (Blue 463).

Thank you so much for joining me today. Please send all your positive energy to our friends in Latvia and to Grafs for him to find the feeder and for the safe migration of all of the birds. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following streaming cams and forums where I grabbed my screen shots: The Forum for the Latvian Fund for Nature and the Sigulda Black Stork Nest, The Eagle Club of Estonia and the Black Stork Nest at Jergova County, The Eagle Club of Estonia and the Black Stork nest in the Karula National Park, Collins Marsh Nature Centre, Northeast Florida Bald Eagle Cam and the AEF, Cumbria Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest, and Cilla Kinross and the Falconcam Project at Charles Sturt University in Australia.

The Great White Egret

Sometimes there are birds that seemingly get forgotten as I rush to find out if Tiny Little beat the big older siblings to the fish or to check on Malin’s feather growth. Clearly one of those has been the Kakapo. There are now only 202 Kakapo, parrots that cannot fly and who love to eat Rimu, on a couple of small islands near New Zealand. They are continually monitored and all have satellite transmitters. They get health checks and are flown off island for care, if needed.

The Kakapo Recovery has partnered with On the EDGE Conservation to create the Kākāpō Run game. As a player you can help the Kakapo evade their predators will collecting Rimu Fruit. Because it is filled with facts about these amazing birds, it is a good way to learn about them. You can download the game here:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details…

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/kakapo-run/id1569861836

Ferris Akel spent most of the Saturday tour at Sapsucker Lake near Ithaca, New York. It was magical. We never made it to see Big Red and her family at Cornell University but it was a great time. One of the highlights was a Great White Egret which is rare to Sapsucker Lake.

Great Egrets are also called the Common Egret or Great White Heron.

Great Egrets will generally stand and wait to see their fish. They also slowly and quietly wade through the water until their neck snaps quickly and they get their fish.

Patience. Quiet. The Great White Egret gets its dinner.

Great Egrets nest in trees.

The beautiful white plumage that adorns these graceful wading birds was used for women’s hats in the late 19th century. Those silky white plumes are called aigrettes – which gives the bird its name. At the beginning of the 20th century, an ounce of Great Egret feathers was worth $32 USD, more than an ounce of gold according to the authors of Birds of Canada. People were so outraged that some of the first legislation to protect birds and their feathers was because of the Great Egret being brought to near extinction for hats!

In Canada, the Great Egrets nest in a very small number of places – in the very southern parts of Saskatchewan, Manitoba, a small part of southeastern Alberta, and southern Quebec. They are found in the Americas, Asia, and parts of southern Europe.

“Great egret rising” by wolfpix is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

The Great Egrets are large birds. They are 94-104 cm (or 37-41 inches) with a wing span of 1.3 m or 4.2 feet. They weight about 1000 grams or 2 pounds. They are all white with black legs and a yellow bill like the one shown above. During breeding season, a patch between its eyes turns neon green and long plumes grow out of its back.

“Great Egret Pointing the Sky” by TexasEagle is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Non-breeding Great Egrets have a small yellow patch between its eyes and bill.

“Great Egret on nest with chicks” by Photomatt28 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Great Egrets build a flat nest or platform of twigs and sticks. They will lay between 1-6 eggs which are incubated for a period of 23-26 days. It will be another 21-25 days til fledging for the youngsters. Aren’t they cute!

I am getting so excited for Peregrine Falcon season to begin in Australia. The male at the 367 Collins Street Nest also known as the CBD Nest arrived with prey for the female today. He is just such a cutie. The nest camera that streams on YouTube is not up and running. It will begin operations after the eggs are laid (normally). For now there is a camera operated by the owners of the building, Mirvac. Here is the link:

https://367collins.mirvac.com/workplace/building-overview/falcons-at-367-collins?fbclid=IwAR3vGCMkdnScju_KTKjhCrcHRnbsYxJm3kAKTLIOzylSVe8PX3UmwaJEn-s

The other Peregrine Falcon nest is that of researcher, Dr Cilla Kinross, at Charles Sturt University. The scrape box is home to Xavier and Diamond and they have been working on the scrape for some time now. We expect eggs at both nests by the end of August.

If you watch both nests you will get a good glimpse into the difference between a falcon nest on a high rise building in a major city, Melbourne, and the more open rural area of Orange, Australia. The prey is very different!

As it turns nearly midnight on the Canadian prairie, the day is just starting on the Foulshaw Moss Osprey nest in Cumbria. No doubt our beautiful Blue 463, Tiny Little, will fly out from where she is roosting on the branches of the tree in the distance, to the nest. White YW has a trio of big Osprey fledglings to feed. He has demonstrated that he is perfectly capable of feeding a family of five.

Thank you so much for joining me. Take care everyone. I hope to have some local images of bird life in Manitoba for you shortly.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I get my screen shots: Ferris Akel and Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest.

Feature Image Credit: “Great egret (Ardea alba) in flight at sunrise at Venice Rookery, Venice, Florida” by diana_robinson is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

A hurricane, two nests, and falcons

Elsa was a category 1 hurricane when she bore down on the Southwest Florida coast last evening. The two chicks on the Sarasota Bay Osprey Nest had their talons anchored, riding out the gusts and the rain. This was the pair of them at 23:08 Tuesday, 6 July.

Whew! No chicks blown off the nest just a good soaking.

As the gusts calmed some in Sarasota, they were picking up at the Achieva Osprey Nest in St Petersburg. It is nearly midnight. What is surprising are the number of cars on the streets and even people walking. The nest perch weaves back and forth. Oh, I am ever so glad that Tiny Tot is not on this nest! Indeed, I can see why the birds might choose to migrate north for the summer to get away from hurricane season.

All of this made all of the aunties and uncles relatively nervous. We can’t do anything but watch which is precisely the problem! And none of us knows what kind of damage the storm will do.

Instead of drinking coffee and eating way too much chocolate, I turned my mind to Peregrine Falcons.

“Peregrine Falcon” by Bill Gracey 26 Million Views is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Peregrine Falcons. The fastest animal on the planet. Speeds up to 390 kph or 243 mph. They are flying killing machines attacking their prey in the air instead of on land. They are magnificent creatures who appear in art, literature, culture, and sport.

“Peregrine Falcon” by DaveInman is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Falcons appear on the shoulders of the terracotta figures, the haniwa, on the Kofun (mound tombs) in Japan from 300-555 CE. These were royal tombs. The haniwa were not placed on the inside of the tomb but, rather, on the top of the mound as if in a ceremonial parade. They served many functions. One of those was utilitarian – they kept the soil from eroding as they would have their bottom portion pushed into the the ground.

Using Google Earth, satellite images show you the distinctive ‘keyhole’ design of these ancient burial sites. Forests now cover the sites but originally, they would have been cleared. These hollow clay figures covered the surface. Were they there to protect the deceased? did they tell about the status of their life on earth? No written records exist but we know that over time simple clay cylinders developed into very elaborate human and animal shapes like the falconer, above.

Falconry was known to be practised by the aristocracy in Japan. Taka is the Japanese word for falcon. Taka means strength and bravery. It is no wonder that the art of falconry, takagari, was adopted by the warrior class, the samurai.

The military class ruled Japan during the Edo era. During the Tokugawa Shogunate, 1603-1858, local war lords (daimyo) and the Shogun hired painters to depict the falcons on crests, screens, textiles such as boy’s kimono, in hangings as well as in single sheets or albums.

The image below is one of many woodblock prints depicting falcons. This one is Falcons with nestlings in a pine tree at sunrise by Utagawa Kuniyoshi.

Falconry is still practiced in Japan today. Here is a lovely short video about a woman who desired to take up the sport.

As it happens, I have just finished reading Queen of the Sky. That is probably why falcons are on my mind. In fact, this beautiful little book is sitting next to me. The illustrations are gorgeous.

What a marvellous little book written and illustrated by Jackie Morris. It is the story of Ffion Rees’s rescue of a Peregrine Falcon off the coast of Ramsay Island. It might be easy for someone to think, on the surface, that it is a condensed version of H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald. If so, they would be missing the book’s heart. It is about love. “Come and see what is in my kitchen” Ffion urges Jackie. It is a story that weaves the lives of the women and the bird – love, loss, and friendship – together in a book that you will not wish to set down. Morris draws you in – you can smell the sea and the land, you can hear the gulls and you want to escape into the wild that is Ramsay Island. Required with the book are at least half a dozen tissues.

Morris tells us that the Peregrine Falcons hatched on Ramsay’s Islands are believed to be the fastest and most fierce in all of the United Kingdom. The kings of England kept many birds from Ramsay.

As a child do you recall the nursery rhyme about the Four and Twenty Blackbirds baked in a pie? Can you conjure that image? Like the one in the old coloured drawing below?

“King William IV sits with knife and fork at the ready before a pie containing blackbirds served to him by Lord Melbourne. Coloured lithograph by H.B. (John Doyle), 1836.” is licensed under CC BY 4.0

But did you know that King Henry II (1133-1189), known as Henry the Falconer, allowed his noblemen to bring their falcons with them whenever there was a feast? And adding to that, did you know that Henry’s chefs made special pies full of live songbirds (they could not have baked them!) and when they were opened the birds flew out as fast as they could while the owners took the hoods off the falcons?

Hoods protect the eyes of the falcon and help to keep it calm. They can very elaborate. This one is in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, England. It dates from the early 17th century and is made of leather which has been incised and gilded. There is silk velvet embroidery with silver thread along with silver breads and a tuft. It is typical of the type of hoods used in Europe at the time. Isn’t it gorgeous?

@Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Can you see it in those cold stone castles with their long wooden tables, pies full of birds flying and thrashing about being chased by stealth fliers? Plucked feathers flying all about and landing in the food?

Falcons raise their eyases in scrape boxes or on the sides of cliffs or in caves. The scrape are shallow and contain gravel. It is believed that the falcons developed this method of raising their chicks to keep away the pests and diseases associated with twig nests.

There are several falcon scrapes that have streaming cams. One of the most famous couples in the United States is Annie and Grinnell who have their scrape box in the Campanile of the University of California at Berkeley. They have just fledged three boys – Fauci, Kaknu, and Wek-Wek. At this time of year, if you want to watch falcons hatch and fledge, you have to go to the falcon streaming cams in the Southern Hemisphere. Two are the CBD Peregrine Falcons otherwise known as the Collins Street Falcons in Melbourne, Australia and the scrape box of Xavier and Diamond on top of the water tower on the campus of Charles Sturt University in Orange, Australia. The CBD Peregrine Falcon Cam is not up and running yet. I will let you know when it is.

Here is the link to the live streaming cam with Diamond, Xavier, and their nine-month old son, Izzi, who refuses to leave home!

I am very happy to say that the two chicks on the Sarasota Bay Osprey Nest survived their very first hurricane. Here they are at 10 am, Wednesday, 7 July.

Tiny Tot’s nest held up perfectly well, too. No one was on it but one of the adult visitors this morning for a bit. We all assume that the impact of the storm had no harmful effects on our beloved Osprey family in St. Petersburg.

The question of who this bird is has driven me a little nuts. The bird has the white ‘V’ and the rounded white heart shape that Tiny Tot has. It has the black patch on the rear of the head that Tiny has. It has Tiny’s short thick legs. But, this is an adult!

Thank you for joining me today. Many of us are quite tired having stayed up to ride the hurricane out. It is such a relief that it has passed. If today’s blog is a little disconnected – that was the state of my mind last night. It will all pass (we hope). Take care all!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen images: The Bay Sarasota Osprey Cam and the Achieva Credit Union in St Petersburg, Florida.