A different type of Easter eggs.

Since we moved into our home in late September, I’ve always seen Carolina wrens in the backyard. Some days there are two but always at least one looking around for food. They sit on the bird feeder or the plants and sing for a while.

One morning I was home in early April and saw one bringing nesting stuff to the hanging plant in front of the window.

All day I watched as both wrens brought stuff into the plant. They were building a nest in there. I would see one stay inside the plant and dig around.

Pausing before heading into the plant, or was he posing for me?

The only shot I could get of both bringing in sticks at the same time.

Sitting on the edge at the end of the day. I didn’t see them again for a few days and thought maybe they abandoned it. I’ve heard they will build several before nesting.  All of the above were taken through the window.

One morning I went outside to water the plants and saw her sitting inside. I was assuming she was sitting on eggs. Very exciting.

Occasionally I would see the male stop by.

One morning she left the nest for a few minutes and I peeked in and saw 5 tiny eggs. More to come on this story.

All In the “eagle” Family

I stopped by the eagles nest in my neighborhood just after mid-February. The 2 babies were flapping their wings pretty hard. At this point the parents were just dropping off food and the babies were eating on their own. One of the parents had been sitting just above the nest and took off.

A few days later I came back and one of the parents was sitting near the nest and started yelling.

I then saw the other parent flying by but didin’t stop. I’m thinking this was the male. The female went after him, screaming along the way. Where was he going and where was breakfast (I’m assuming that’s what she was yelling)?

I saw them both land several towers down the field (that’s an osprey nest on the bottom left). They both sat up there for a while before taking off again.

The kids were like “Where are they going and where is our breakfast?”  I waited about 45 minutes after that but still didn’t see the parents come back. One of them probably came back around lunchtime with a snack. At this point the babies still weren’t flying at all but flapping pretty hard.

More to come on the eagle family. I guess I should name them all at this point. Any suggestions?

SkyWatch FridayFriendship Friday

It just keeps getting worse.

More from the great horned owl’s nest. These were all taken in late February, before we lost one of the babies to rat poison.

These were the only pictures I got of all 3 of the babies together. They were usually all over the place. The first one was taken early one morning, with the youngest trying to hide behind the moss.

One of my last visits at the end of February, they were flying to the nearby trees and really working those muscles.At the end of the day it was dark and cloudy and about to rain and they were very active but it was hard to get good shots in the bad light.

Here is where the problem is. They eat a lot of rats. Most restaurants, apartment buildlings and stores use those black rat poison boxes and don’t realize the impact it has on the other wildlife. If a rat eats the poison and doesn’t die right away, the owl is going to get it and eat it and die as well. There is a campaign to educate the people in the area about the side effects of using the poison. You don’t need it when you have owls, eagles and hawks living in the area. Plus there other non-poisonous traps to use. We also lost the Mom as well. She was found a few days after the baby. Both had necropsys done and they came back positive for rat poison.

I made a quick stop a few days later and Dad was raising the 2 remaining babies. I found the Dad and the babies were both high up in the next tree. I’ve heard they were doing well and flying all over the park since then. Edit-One of the remaining 2 babies was found dead at the park this week from rat poison and the Dad was found yesterday. So now there is only 1 remaining owl out of a family of 5.

A day in the life of a pelican sanctuary.

I was up at Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park at the end of January and noticed the pelicans were getting frisky. It was warm the day I was there but we still had some cold weather to get through. Injured pelicans live at the park (most are missing a wing) and are free to nest and raise their babies. Then the babies are able to fly free when they grow up.

A few of the residents showing me their missing wings.

It was funny to watch all of the couples flirting and getting the nests ready.

It’s also funny to watch them stretching their pouches.

Chilling, this one looks like he’s got his breeding feathers in with that pretty yellow head.

There are also a few white pelicans that live there but I’ve never seen them nest, Maybe they nest closer to the middle of the summer.

Triplets for the Class of 2022.

I was keeping an eye on the nearby local owl’s nest in mid-January. I’d stop by when I was out running errands.  It was usually easy to spot one of the parents high up in the tree. Mom was always on the nest.

Near the end of January I could see a fuzzy white head on the nest. This was the youngest of three, still looking like an ugly duckling.

One of the other siblings were sitting up and looked much bigger. At this point we thought there might only be 2 babies.

A week later it was confirmed there were 3 babies. All of the babies were still sitting right in the nest so it was hard to see them clearly through all of the moss. More to come on these cuties growing up.

The bird rookery

Catching a little blue heron lift off.

Snowy egrets were showing off.

Baby great egrets were screaming for Mom to feed them.

The sky over the Tampa rookery was busy in early April. It was like standing at the airport during the holidays watching the planes take off.

The cormarants and anhingas are usually high up in the trees but I saw this anhinga sitting on a nest low on the other side of the rookery.

There were many other birds at the rookery besides the usual egrets and herons. A night heron, a female red winged blackbird and a catbird were also sighted. I was excited to see the glossy ibis here in the bottom picture but it looked like the couple was working on a nest on the backside of the rookery so seeing little glossy babies is a slim chance.

Please don’t use rat poison

“What is everone looking at? Wait, I see a rat in the parking lot. Tell Mom to go get it.”

“I am Dracula. I suck the blood of rats”

“Soon I’ll be flying and can go get my own rat.”

“She’s taking my picture. I need to move over here to the best spot.”

Right before dark all three of the babies lined up and I got a shot of them all together. Both parents had just flown away, assuming to go get dinner. Since they are so curious, they were always looking everywhere. It was so amazing seeing these guys growing up. It really is a privilage to have these owls growing up in such a populated area. I didn’t make it back to the nest after this to see them all grown up.  Unfortunately no one got to see 2 of them grow up. I just recently found out that 2 of them died from rat poison. The third one survived. Maybe he didn’t get to eat as much of that poisoned rat that the parent brought back. This is what happens when people use rat poison boxes. The rats don’t die right away and the owl grabs it to bring back to the nest. These owls are a  natural pest control and the three young ones would have cleaned out most of the area of rats for a while when they first start to hunt.

Why the storks bring the babies!

I think this was the youngest baby at the rookery. You could just barely make out the baby’s head at the bottom of mom’s beak.

Most of the other nests had babies that were pretty grown up. For some reason these guys were wet and dirty. Dad must have brought back some wet dirty moss to replensh the nest.

Moms were busy tending to the nests and babies all over the tiny island in the middle of this neighborhood pond.

Looks like this Mom had only one baby. Some had two or three.

Zooming in, these guys were all white and fluffy.

 

The annual trip to the Tampa rookery

As soon as I got to the bird rookery in north Tampa in late April I look over and see a muscovy duck family resting in the shade. I snapped a couple of pictures and then realized they see me. They all popped up and came running over to me.  “Not going to happen guys” I said. I’m not feeding them although I’m sure people who live in the nearby neighborhood do. After they realized I wasn’t going to feed them they got in the water and took off for a swim.

The wood storks were flying into the pond right near where I was standing and while getting a sip of water this one found a good stick to take back to the nest. He’s looking at me like “What do you think of my stick?”. I’m thinking “She’s going to kick you off the nest if you come back with that tiny stick.”

Wood storks were constantly flying over to surrounding trees and grabbing sticks to bring back to the nest.

True love is hard to find.

This guy was being lazy. Just watching all of the busy birds go by.

SkyWatch Friday

Guess what’s for breakfast

Mom was digging around in the nest early one morning in February and pulled up a rat. I’m going to be repetitive about using rat poison. Owls love rats. When people use rat poison the rats don’t die right away. They wander off and the owls pick them up and eat them. Owls can easily die from a rat that has eaten rat poison.  You don’t need to use it. The owls (eagles and hawks as well) will take care of the rats.

I spent a good part of the morning waiting for the baby owls to wake up and then  watching Mom taking turns feeding the babies.  Doesn’t that look yummy!?!  It was an overcast day, I was using my long lens and these are extremely cropped up so they aren’t quite as clear as I would have liked. But that’s okay. I’d rather be standing half way across the beach than too close. I didn’t make it back out later to see these little ones completely grown. On a sad circle of life note, I heard that one went missing and a team of people spent all morning looking for it. They think it may have fallen during the night. The area has a lot of coyotes that we don’t see during the day so one of them or an eagle could have gotten it.