Indigo flies to the scrape and steals the prey from Rubus and Diamond!

13 November 2022

Greetings Everyone,

I did not expect that anything could match the banding and putting the sat pad on Port Lincoln’s largest female osplet, Zoe BUT, something did happen.

This afternoon at the scrape on the water tower at Charles Sturt University in Orange an event took place that no one believed would be possible yet – eventually but, not yet. Well, it happened.

Indigo saw Diamond fly to the scrape with prey. He would have heard Rubus screaming, too. Indigo flew into the scrape and took the prey. Indigo was obviously famished. Diamond and Rubus were in utter shock.

It is unclear how much prey Indigo has received from the parents but, this is wonderful – simply marvellous – as it means that both Rubus and Indigo are getting fed. From the way that Indigo grabbed and ate that prey – and we must remember that Indigo has never been aggressive like Rubus – it appears it might been awhile since he had a prey drop.

Very reassuring to see Indigo in the scrape. This means that he has the strength to fly at the angle to get into the scrape. It was a fantastic fly in. It also means that we might see Indigo get more food drops there.

Oh, just lovely. You do not need my narrative. Write your own!

Thank you so much for being with me. Please take care. I will be posting my Monday November 14th newsletter mid-afternoon. See you then!

Thank you Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross for your streaming cam where I took my screen captures.

Indigo Fledges!

10 November 2022

It is a lovely morning in Orange and beautiful Indigo decided it was a perfect day to fly and she did at 0700:33. Rubus did not even notice! He was too busy eating. Of course.

Congratulations to Diamond and Xavier, Cilla Kinross and the entire family that love these Peregrine Falcons. Well done Indigo! Beautiful flight. You stay safe out there. Live long, eat lots of parrots and Starlings, soar high.

Indigo was watching the parents and bobbing her head up and down, focusing.

She’s off. It was a gorgeous take off.

Indigo flew down to the trees and was immediately followed by an adult.

Squint. There is a grey dot in the centre of the trees. That is Indigo.

In a few minutes, Xavier shows up with prey for Rubus. They do not want Rubus leaving the scrape. Rubus is not nearly ready to fly despite being four days younger.

Oh, how grand! Thanks ‘B’ for sending me that note! So grateful.

Thank you to everyone at Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross. Let us all join them in thanking them for their streaming cam and the joy that watching this amazing falcon hatch and grow into a fledgling has given us.

Birds at the Zoo…and breakfast with the Australian nests

28 October 2022

Hello Everyone!

So happy to have you here with me. I set out ‘in my mind’ last evening that I would get up early and head out to find Snowy Owls sitting on large round hay bales near Oak Hammock Marsh. I got a text from a friend – ‘no’ owls seen. So, determined to see a Snowy Owl today, I did something entirely different! I went to the zoo.

How long has it been since you have been to a zoo? With all the criticism against keeping animals in small cages, our Assiniboine Park Zoo set out to try and make the enclosures for the animals considerably larger. At the same time they addressed issues of ‘boredom’ and the environments that the animals would live in if they were out in the wild. It was a much more pleasant place to visit because of those major changes.

One of the zoo volunteers saw me looking at the map and asked me what I wanted to see. The answer was Snowy Owls and Birds. I wonder if they were disappointed that I didn’t say ‘tiger’ or ‘cougar’. As it happened we were very close to the Snow Owls and it was feeding time. Fluffy yellow chicks raised specifically for the purpose were being dished out. For several seconds, it seemed that a woman standing near to me was going to pass out she was so overcome by seeing the owls eat the chicks. I stood in wonderment trying to figure out if she thought that they ate lettuce – our zoo purchases an inordinate amount of Romaine lettuce – or fruit. It is a good thing that she was away from the cougar or the Stellar’s Eagle compounds at that specific moment.

The real character of the entire four hours was the Toucan. He made eye contact immediately. What an incredibly beautiful bird he is.

This is the Toco Toucan. They are the largest of the species at 62 cm long with a bill/beak that is 17 cm long. Their lifespan is approximately 20 years. The Toco Toucan is native to South American rainforests where its numbers are decreasing due to deforestation.

I wish we could have had a conversation. This chap was a real cutie pie.

These little Sun Conures were tiny in comparison to the Toco Toucan. No wonder they have the ‘sun’ as part of their name. Oh, those faces ranging from yellow to orange to red are the colours we painted the sun as children. They are native to northeastern South America. They are approximately 30 cm in length but these certainly did not look that big unless you count that long olive green tail in the measurement! These little cuties were using their bill and their feet to dig around the edge of their enclosure. They have a stubby quite muscular tongue that helps them move their food around in their mouth.

This beautiful Golden Eagle was finishing up its breakfast and not the least bit interested in anyone looking at it. What a beauty. It is one of the largest birds of prey in North America, about the same size as a Bald Eagle. Unlike a Bald Eagle whose legs and talons are bare, the Golden Eagle has feathers on its legs. In Canada, they are ‘at risk’. Their meals consist of small mammals such as rabbits and squirrels.

The Stellar’s Sea Eagle is the largest of the sea eagles. With its striking bright yellow beak and legs and its espresso brown/black and white plumage, it is easy to recognize this raptor. It has a wedge-tail and fine pointed wings. They are rare. In the northern areas they will stand on the ice and fish and love the salmon in the north. It is thought that they almost exclusively breed in the north of Russia. You may recall that there is a Stellar’s Sea Eagle that has come to Newfoundland, Canada travelling south to parts of New England. I believe it is back in Newfoundland.

There were so many little Red Squirrels. This one is eating a ‘helicopter’, the seed of the Maple Tree.

Little Red stuffed these Maple Tree seeds in every part of the old shed. There were boxes full. Never knew if he used them for insulation to stay warm as well as eating. There is a large box full of them in his new home if he ever moves in!

It was great fun. Lovely to see families out with small children running about. Next time you are looking for a place to go – think the zoo!

A very small fish landed on the Port Lincoln Osprey barge at 061847. Middle got some of the tail but Big got most of it at 062652.

Breakfast arrived at 0618 on the ledge of 367 Collins Street for the Melbourne Four. Another plucking lesson, too!

This big one has run off with a nice piece and is self-feeding.

After eating it was running to get those legs strong, finding scraps of prey, and flapping those wings. What a brilliant place for these eyases to get exercise! I wonder how being able to run and flap freely – running a great distance – might give these falcons an edge in terms of physical strength that would help them survive? Just a thought!

This is the Recap for the morning feedings at Orange. Goodness Xavier has been busy hunting!

BirdieCam​ RECAP: 6:07:33 starling, X leaves, 6:20:58 D feeds; 6:38:31 X w/RRP?, he feeds; 09.13.33 X w/Noisy Friarbird, D feeds

Everyone has had breakfast, some more than others. Wish for fish – a big one for Port Lincoln.

Take care all. This is just a quick check and all are doing well at the 3 nests we are watching in Australia.

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.

Anything you can do, I can do it, too! and an update on SE29 and other tales in Bird World

28 October 2022

It has simply been an extraordinary day on the Canadian Prairies. Here it is 2113 and the temperature is +10 C. Earlier it was 13 C. There were individuals walking around with their summer flip flops! Fall is such a harbinger of the cold, cold winter that well, it is nice to have a break. I am starting the news for tomorrow because it is happening right now in Australia. Tomorrow I hope to get out early and find some Snowy Owls in the fields north of where I live. Perhaps a Northern Harrier or two and might there be a duck?

Snowy Owls arrive in Manitoba when the temperature begins to drop. You can see Snowy Owls on the utility poles, hay bales, and in the fields of Southern Manitoba. They rarely venture to the center or the north of our province. They blend in perfectly – their beautiful white plumage with its dark flecking – with the snow covering the land. Their eyes are a bright yellow as are their legs. They feed on grouse, lemmings, rabbits, and weasels in the winter. Any that remain here in the summer live off of voles and mice in the fields. We always think of owls as hunting from dusk to dawn but, the Snowy Owls hunt during the daytime. They range in size from 50-70 cm with reverse sex size dimorphism (the female is noticeably larger than the male).

This beautiful image is “Snowy owl (female)” by Marie Hale is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Making News:

Update on the status of SE29. Oh, my goodness, a broken leg above the talon. Sweet baby. So glad 29 is in good care!

Missing Annie and Alden? They were bonding in the scrape box yesterday!! ‘H’ caught it!

Progress is being made on the Notre-Dame Bald Eagle’s nest that collapsed. This is the natal nest of Little Bit ND17. Parents working very hard to get it ready for the upcoming breeding season.

Australian Nest News:

Friday on the Port Lincoln Osprey barge has simply been ‘interesting’. The day arrived with a small fish and deep breaths as I wondered whether Big would attack Middle. Or would Middle decide to give Big a peck again? ‘H’ calls what Middle got last night as ‘The School of Hard Knocks’ – it certainly was! But, today both have been civil. That said, something else is happening.

If one of the chicks does something, the other immediately does the same thing. Now seriously bear with me. This meant that both of them stuck their little bottoms in the air and did a PS in the window of 1030 and 1031. I kid did you not.

Big was sleeping and Middle was looking out over the water with a really nice crop.

Middle begins flapping his wings.

Then Big stands up and flaps her wings.

Middle raises up its fat little bottom with its head bent down low and gets ready. At the same time Big begins to lower her head and raise her bottom.

Middle goes first. Just look at that incredible ps. This chick has been eating well…if we did not know it we could ascertain that from the volume and the velocity of this incredible perfectly white ps. (There are some sticks there as well, check above or below so that you can tell what is ps. Middle has strong legs and a fat bottom and is growing like an incredibly bad weed.

Nine seconds separate the ps of each osplet.

Then Big decides to do some wing flapping.

Then Middle! The one good thing about their method is that it allows room for both to flap on the nest. I sure wonder what Mum thinks when she watches these two.

Then they both quiet down.

Dad arrives with another fish. It is 1232.

Gosh, I couldn’t see the size of that fish but Mum was still feeding the osplets at 1300. Big appears to have gotten the largest share. In the image above you can already see the crop that is large and — it will continue to grow!

At 1301 Middle had to stop eating and have another ps. Then he went back to the table probably hoping to get some more good bites which he did get. Now will he get that important fish tail?

Then – all of a sudden – the two osplets look up and there is Dad landing with another fish. Can you believe this?

Dad lands with a very small fish. A good practice fish for self-feeding. Mum ignores him and continues to feed Middle. She also gives some bites to Big who seems to always be able to find room for more.

At 1315 Dad takes his unwanted little fish and I presume goes over on the ropes to have his own lunch.

Dad returns empty taloned. He is looking closely at the fish that Mum is still feeding Middle and Big. Mum has been feeding the two and herself for over an hour. That was a BIG fish!

Incredible. At 1350 Mum is just finishing up that fish. Happy to see her eating well today, too.

Middle and Big had another meal at 1945. Wow. Dad is having some excellent fishing days.

Rubus and Indigo are adorable. Indigo ran off the Cilla Stones this afternoon to join Rubus in the corner. Oh, these eyases are so cute! That cuteness comes in part from their behaviour – their facial expressions, their interaction with one another and with Xavier and Diamond and their environment inside the scrape.

Rubus has been playing with the feathers. Is he looking for food scraps?

Indigo is over on the Cilla Stones watching her little brother as he intently stares at a feather.

Wow. That was a bit of a leap. Has Indigo been secretly going to gymnastics classes? I wonder how many points she would get for that landing?

Indigo is so curious as to what Rubus is doing and finding in those stones in his corner of the scrape.

Ah, two little sweeties! ‘A’ tells me that Cilla is certain that Indigo is a female as she is already as large as Xavier and still growing but, will not declare gender of Rubus for a bit. Four days younger and he is growing and growing. I have always called Rubus a ‘he’ and said ‘little brother’ but, in fact, Rubus could be a little sister for Indigo.

‘A’ notes that Indigo is losing all of her cotton fluff and will be looking much more like a falcon as Rubus continues to copy everything she does and remains a ball of cotton. From the time stamps that ‘A’ sent me, these two had a few good meals yesterday. Looks like there were five – that is appearing to be the daily average for the scrape at Orange.

The Melbourne Four seem to have relocated – for part of the afternoon – to the other end of the ledge.

The eyases are running up and down and then resting. All is well. No need to panic! ‘H’ caught them doing their famous gutter stomp heading to the other end for prey!

The weather report from ‘A’ for the eastern coast of Australia is rain and more rain. Storms put out power and pumps were working over time. This could inpact hunting for the Melbourne adults. We wait to see.

Thank you so much for being with me today. Take care of yourself. See you soon! (Please be advised if the weather is grand, I could well be out birding until late Friday. There might not be a late evening newsletter going out after this one. If that is the case, I will see you Saturday morning!).

Thank you to the following for their posts and streaming cams that make up my screen captures: ‘H’ for her video clips of Cal Falcons and the Melbourne Four, ‘A’ for her over view of the nests, the Eagle Cam, Window to Wildlife, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam.

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.

Late Friday in Bird World

21 October 2022

The day turned out to be a lovely 14 degrees C. I am not feeling 100% but I do not have Covid. I am thankful but, I did call off the small celebration for my BFF’s birthday just in case. I know that some of you have symptoms of long Covid and my heart goes out to you every single day. My problem seems to be a response to the flu vaccine. Nothing serious and it will go away. Please do not worry. The chair I am sitting on is perfect and there is nothing more healing that watching the birds flit from one feeder to another and the squirrels run along the top of the fence. As a friend -who is healing from surgery reminded me this morning – watching the birds outside in the feeders is joyful and healing.

Awhile ago I posted some recent research that found that hospital rooms that had windows looking out to trees had patients who were happier, required less pain medication, and went home sooner!!!!! So look outside and smile!!!!

Making News:

The news on SE30 is coming in slowly. This is the latest from our friends down in Sydney.

Last year was tragic for Nancy and Harry at the MN-DNR Bald Eagle nest. First, the dashing young Harry went missing leaving Nancy to have to not only provide security, at a time when intruders were about, but, also provide food for the two eaglets on the nest, E1 and E2. The weather was miserable. Nancy was unable to provide food for both and E1 threw E2 off the nest. E2 was euthanized. E1 went on to fledge. Nancy was, however, left alone with a beautiful nest but no mate. Well, that seems to be over.

I was thrilled to read that Bonnie Johnson consulted with Pat Burke for the name of the new male. Pat Burke has an encyclopedic memory of the Sydney Sea Eagles as well as many of the Bald Eagle nests. As a wealth of knowledge, she has graciously answered any and all eagle questions that I threw at her. She is a treasure.

Honestly I cannot think of anything scarier climbing up an Osprey nest. Can you?

The Mispillion Harbour Osprey nest on the coast of Delaware is one of the busiest nests off season. ‘H’ has made videos of the Bald Eagles coming and going, occasionally taking sticks. Today, the nest was visited by what appears to be a immature Norther Harrier. As a reminder, don’t think your favourite nest is idle, check it often!

It is often the fringe that gives the Harrier’s ID away. Their face actually looks like an owl at times and the fringe gives them the same ability to hear that an Owl has. Gorgeous birds.

It is time how to turn our attention to the Australian nests to see how they are doing for breakfast.

Dad arrived on the very wet ledge of the 367 Collins Street scrape with a pigeon at 065144. Mum flew in immediately after he landed to feed the Melbourne Four. So, despite the rain, prey is being brought up in good time – either freshly caught or from the pantry. It doesn’t matter as long as the erases get fed, right?!

Mum perched near the Melbourne Four during the night. The erases are too large to brood now and they will remain dry in the rain that Melbourne is experiencing at this end of the ledge.

I suspect something similar is happening at the scrape box of Diamond and Xavier. Dad will fly in with the breakfast and Mum will come and feed Indigo and Rubus. What do you think?

You can see some blue sky and some clouds. It appears as if it will also be a rainy day in Orange. Xavier should be bringing in prey shortly. We all worry about them when the bad weather and heavy rains come. Take care Xavier.

Every time I think of Port Lincoln, I hold my breath before I start looking at the streaming cam. Big has been in such an attack mode lately that – well, since the loss of Little, it can make one overly anxious for Middle. There is, however, no reason to believe that Middle will not fledge. If Middle is a male he might to decide to get off that nest much faster than the lads last year so that he can get away from Big!

A fish arrived early. That could be a good omen but, not always. It does get the nest off to a good start. The times was 063456. It was a nice big fish. Of course, Big had to eat first. Middle was very nervous but by 065018, Middle was trying to figure out a way to get some breakfast. In the end, he decided to just move up next to Big and eat. Middle has become very good at snatch and grab and as long as Big doesn’t tear into him – and she does sometimes when she thinks Middle is getting more food than her – Middle should’ve be able to have a reasonable feed. There is fish left.

Middle is going to be fine. Big has moved away and Mum is finding all the scrap pieces of fish she can for Middle. Now…Mum needs food! Middle has a nice crop. Smiling.

If Big could just turn her attention more to nesting, Middle might be able to enjoy a carefree life til fledge. Remember the chicks will get names and will be banded on 12-14 November.

Everyone has had food but Orange. I am certain that Xavier will come into the scrape, possibly drenched, with prey before long. Indigo is really exploring the boundaries of the scrape and looking out to the world. Rubus has now moved to exploring the corner and sleeping there – Little Brother copying Big Sister!

Thank you for being with me today. Wish for fish and prey. Take care of yourselves. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their posts and streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Stuart Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, ‘H’ and Mispillion Harbour Osprey Cam, Friends of the Non-Game MN-DNR Bald Eagle Nest, Cornell Bird Lab, Nature Heaven Group, and Sea Eagle Cam.

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.

Big shuts Middle out of fish…and other breakfast news from Australia

20 October 2022

Yesterday was a good day. All four of the Blue Jays were seen along with all four of the Crow family. The two Chickadees came flitting through. Four grey squirrels and one red one. Loads of Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos. I know I have mentioned all of them recently but there is something so reassuring to see them – alive. Urban environments present particular challenges for our feathered friends and, it is like knowing that your whole family is fed, warm, and tucked in for the night. It feels good just like watching the little falcons eat. Something very rewarding.

Making News:

SE 30 was seen in a residential area around the Discovery Centre. What a beautiful sea eagle.

Jackie and Shadow have been working on the nest in the Big Bear Valley. Shadow has a new hair style to show off for this breeding season!

It is that time of year that lead begins to make news – and never in a good way. Read the post by one of my favourite Wildlife Rehab Clinics in the US, A Place Called Hope. It takes one lead pellet or one lead sinker to damage or kill an eagle. When there are alternatives, this is unacceptable. If lead paint is outlawed because it can harm humans, then lead hunting and fishing equipment that causes death to our raptors needs to be outlawed as well.

I wish that I could tell you that all is well at Port Lincoln. A whole fish arrived at 090824. Middle did get some bites but Big ate the majority of that fish making Middle have to do the snatch and grab. At 124709 another fish arrived on the nest. Big is going to eat all of it. She has beaked Middle so that he is afraid to come up to the table. Middle was tucked in tight. Listening and watching. At 13:10:58 Middle slithers up to Mum. Is there any fish left? No. Mum just ate the fish tail.

There will, of course, be other fish. But there is still a problem. We had high hopes that Big would calm down and everything would be civil on the Port Lincoln Nest on Monday. Big did get most of the fish but she was not chasing Middle away from the table.

Both eating on Monday.

By Wednesday everything had changed significantly. If Big continues to eat the way she is, Mum is not getting enough food and Middle will continue to be intimidated and afraid to go and eat.

Big will stop eating to intimidate Middle.

Middle really needs to have a good meal.

There were other fish but beyond the 0909, Big did not allow Middle much. Those fish came in at 1247, 1651, 1931, and 1952.

If Middle moves a speck, Big raises its head. This is not a good situation. Middle neeeds to eat today, Thursday in Australia.

At Melbourne, the problem was the heat. The eyases were very hot. Some made it to the other end of the ledge to enjoy the shade. Mum and Dad had turns acting as umbrellas to block the sun.

Both parents dug in their talons and tried to help the Melbourne Four.

Thankfully the shade came! What a difference a couple of hours makes.

Lots of prey came for the Melbourne Four. It looks like Mum took charge of all the 5 feedings. Thanks to ‘H’ and ‘A’ for the time stamps and information. At the 0552 feeding, the eyases ate for 9 minutes; at 0749 it was 21 minutes, at 1627 for 32-33 minutes, at 1734 for 12 minutes, and a bedtime snack came in at 1859 and the kids ate for 5 minutes.

Indigo and Rubus had five feeds yesterday, too. Those came at 072721, 100848, 105425, 144754, and the last one before light’s out was at 181056. The prey thought to be a Red Waddle bird at 100848 was positively identified as a Noisy Miner later.

Have a close look at little Rubus. He is starting to get pin feathers.

Diamond is making sure that Indigo uses her neck muscles, too!

Diamond is fascinated by the camera!

Migration News:

The news coming for Karl II and his family of Black Storks from the Estonian Karula National Forest appears to be all good. Little Waba flew 298 km and is now in Turkey. S/he did that in one day!

This is an image from where Waba’s tracker indicated s/he is feeding. Just lovely.

There was no new transmission from Kaia. She continues to be in Chad in a dry area it is believed.

Bonus is still in Romania feeding in the ditches east of Latinu.

Karl II really got to flying. he covered 373 km in one day and is now feeding along on the eastern side of the Nile River near Asswan.

Great News.

Two things I try to avoid when bringing you news about our feathered family are politics and religion. Sometimes, politics cannot be avoided because our wildlife are wrapped up in particular views and policies that belong to the different parties in the various governments around the world.

There is a quiet movement behind the scenes to see what can be done to change the intervention laws in South Australia in the memory of Little Bob. What we have learned is that David Speirs -often seen with the ospreys, Janet Forster (Port Lincoln Osprey founder), and who is now President of Friends of Ospreys- was the Minister of the Environment for the State of South Australia and, as you can tell, extremely supportive of the Ospreys. The Liberals lost the last election and the Labour Party is in power. David Speirs (Ervie is named after the village in Scotland where Speirs was born) is now the leader of the Opposition.

Every day something new is discovered. Current regulations and policies are being examined to see how to move forward. The last thing anyone wants to do is to damage the fine work that Port Lincoln and Friends of Osprey have already done. It takes time for change but, no one is forgetting Little Bob least of all Port Lincoln who support intervention but cannot within the current policies and guidelines or they would lose their licenses and everything they have gained in terms of being able to provide for the Ospreys. All of this is good. Little Bob is not forgotten.

Thank you so much for being with me today. Please take care. See you later today with the breakfast news. Send positive wishes to Port Lincoln, please.

Thank you to the following for their posts, videos, and their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Sydney Sea Eagle Cam FB, Friends of Big Bear Valley, A Place Called Hope, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt University Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, and Looduskalender.

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.