Thursday, August 30, 2012
Today is the last day of the blog and of feeding my new vulture friends. I have not seen Pink or any of her hack tower mates since Saturday. I will be cleaning out the tower next week to ready it for a makeover. The hack tower will turn into an observation tower, and the web cam will be moved but still broadcast. Thanks to everyone that has been involved in the past four years. This program is dependant on community support, and we could not have asked for a more positive reaction. Hopefully next spring Black, from 2009, will have youngsters of his own at the nesting platform that we will be able to enjoy.
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
I feel a bit like a broken record again today. The vultures sure do like me feeding them every morning. If Pink doesn't make an appearance at all this week, I believe we will call it quits on the free meal for the vultures. If anyone is out and about and see any of the youngsters, be sure to let me know.
Monday, August 27, 2012
The vultures cleaned the tower up again this morning with no sign of Pink. Joel and I went on an osprey chase this afternoon around Hooper, Ahquabi and the ANC and found a couple of herons and vultures, but no osprey. We will see what tomorrow brings.
Sunday, August 26, 2012
Not a soul in sight this morning when I fed, and no action since.
Saturday, August 25, 2012
Pink hasn’t eaten off of the tower in two days. This morning she was sitting on the nesting platform when I went to feed. She flew in and snagged a fish without touching the top of the tower. She managed to pick the biggest chunk and flew with it for quite a while before she dropped it. She came in for fish chunk number two and successfully flew to her dead tree snag and ate. By the looks of her flight maneuvering skills, she is fishing on her own and supplementing her diet with the carp we are giving her.
Thursday, August 23, 2012
I got to watch Pink doing her thing this morning. She was waiting for her breakfast on the nesting platform. She flew around maneuvering for a good half hour. She would swoop and soar around the tower, managing to keep the vultures at bay for a while. Twice she went down and did touch and goes on the tower for fish. The first time her aim was bad. The second time she grabbed a massive head of a carp, got airborne for a minute and then dropped the head on the ground. She continued to fly around for quite awhile. The vultures came in around 9:45 a.m. and have picked the tower clean. Pink didn't end up eating off of the tower this morning. After seeing her flight today, I would guess she is starting to feed a bit on her own.
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
I went to feed at 8:45 am this morning. All was quiet at the wetland. I decided to drive over to Lake Ahquabi to see if I could find any of the youngsters. When I stopped by the tower on my way back, around 9:00 am, the vultures had already found the carp buffet. At 9:30 am, Pink flew in and yelled at the vultures for a few minutes and then proceeded to snag breakfast for herself and fly off to the tree snag.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
The camera was moved to the top of the hack tower yesterday. I was not at the ANC, so really don't have anything to report for yesterday. I fed today at 10:30 am. No one was around. I do believe someone was on the tower while I was out running errands though because the fish had been disturbed. I will be altering feeding times to make Pink less dependant on the free meal. Still no sign of Orange. Green and Yellow are with the adults. I suspect that Orange has also joined up with them and are being well taken care of.
Saturday, August 18, 2012
No one was around the wetland when we went to feed this moring. Pink flew in around 9:30 a.m. to yell at the vultures and grab a hunk of fish. We still have not seen any sign of Orange.
Friday, August 17, 2012
I went to feed this moring and had a surprise waiting for me. After Orange fledged yesterday, I left the gate down on the tower for no reason really. Pink was perched on the branch in the tower this morning. She flew as soon as I made it to the top and we closed the gate. In all of the years I have been doing the osprey project, I have never seen a bird go back into the tower. Orange still hasen't surfaced. If you see him, please let us know.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Today Orange found freedom! We lowered the gate at 10:00 a.m., and he left at 11:30 a.m. His tail feathers are a bit worse for wear, so he is easy to spot with binoculars, but he had a good flight. I hope to see him at the tower in the morning. We will be moving the camera to the top of the tower in the next couple of days.
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Pink was waiting for us on the tower this morning. Once we fed, we found him in a snag in the middle of the wetland. We watched him take two dives toward the water before finally grabbing a fish from the tower. It sure looks like he is attempting to fish. Orange seems frustrated today. He keeps going to the front gate on the tower and flapping at it. If he would only get a little lift he could also be free. I think it is going to take leaving the gate down the better part of a day before he will fly. I am going to attempt this on Wednesday of next week. It is starting to get late and he needs to be on the wing.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
We decided not to release today. We let the gate down yesterday for about an hour and a half with no luck. Orange just isn’t ready to leave the tower. I will wait until I see him hitting perches. Pink was joined by an adult bird today. She flew back and forth from the tree snag to the hack tower all morning, calling the whole time.
Monday, August 13, 2012
A busy weekend at the tower. When we arrived to feed on Saturday, Pink was stuck on the tower between the railing and the hack box. I think she was after some of the food bits that the vultures have scattered. She was back 3 more times that day. We let the gate down for Orange, but he had no interest in leaving. Yesterday, Pink got a little braver with the vultures. She dove at one of them and hit them in the head with his talons. Pink was on the tower this morning when we fed and is back on the tower now with a handful of vultures. She is chatting them up but not flying at them today. We are going to try to release Orange again in the morning, but he really doesn’t show any interest in flying.
Friday, August 10, 2012
All three youngsters were spotted early this morning. Pink seems to be the one with a healthy appetite. He stuck around on the nesting platform while we fed. As soon as we were off of the tower she came in for fish. She was shortly joined by a bunch of vultures. She decided to stand her ground for a bit but soon took off with a hunk of fish for a tree by the wetland bridge. Orange watched from inside the tower, calling to Pink the entire time. I hope he takes his shot at freedom in the morning.
Wednesday, August 8 & Thursday, August 9, 2012
All three youngsters hung out at the wetland yesterday. Around 1:00 p.m. they were spotted with one of the adult males. The tower was black with vultures this morning after feeding. Pink was brave enough, or maybe hungry enough, to land on the tower with them and eat. We are going to bait the vultures with a deer carcass so they leave the fish alone. We are also going to let the gate down at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday to give Orange a shot at freedom.
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
I pulled into work this morning to Yellow and Green perched in neighboring trees by the hack tower. So nice to see them sticking around and together. Pink was released at 10 a.m. this morning and also cooperated. She was out within a minute of dropping the gate, made a short flight and landed on the nesting platform. Later this afternoon Green joined her. All three are sticking together now. Orange seems unhappy to be the only one left in the tower. Depending on his accomplishments the rest of this week, he will be released on Saturday or Monday. Stay tuned.
Monday, August 6, 2012
A day full of excitement! When I came in this morning an adult was on the nesting platform talking to the youngsters. This was a welcome sign because today was Pink’s release. We went down to drop the gate at 10:00 a.m. About 2 minutes after 10:00, Green flew from the floor, cleared the gate and was out on his own. He had a beautiful 20 minute flight. He got in a group of vultures and followed them around for a bit but finally settled on the nesting platform. About an hour later I threw fish on top of the tower hoping to spur Pink out when to our surprise Yellow flew out from the floor. He took a much shorter flight and landed on the observation tower roof. Green flew over to meet him there where they both hung out for awhile. At 3:00 p.m. this afternoon, Yellow is still on the observation tower but has made some short flights and chased a couple of vultures! Green went back to the nesting platform where he watched turkey vultures eat all of the fish I threw on the top of the tower. Tomorrow we will drop the gate for Pink again and see if she (I believe she has a necklace) will take her first free flight. So great to see them all doing well! Videos of flights can be seen on our Annett Nature Center facebook page.
Sunday, August 5, 2012
The birds are all lazy again today. Nothing exciting to report. They must be saving all of their energy for the release tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. Here’s to hoping Pink flies right away and has a safe landing!
Saturday, August 4, 2012
Well it is definitely the weekend. The birds are all relaxing. No one seems to be too excited about flapping. They all ate, are preening and just taking in the view.
Friday, August 3, 2012
The adults have been flying around the wetland causing the youngsters to be quite chatty. Pink has been up and down from the perches all day. The others are all still flying low, but no one has made the jump to the short green perch. Until tomorrow.
Thursday, August 2, 2012
The birds are all very active today. When we went up to clean this morning, Pink was perched on the branch. He had a nice controlled flight down to the floor of the tower careful to land in an open spot. He has spent the rest of the morning flying all over. He refuses to walk anywhere anymore. Green has been unsettled. He keeps making low flights from the back of the tower to the front and back again. He seems frustrated but has not gone to a higher perch. Yellow and Orange are also low flying, but they don’t seem nearly as agitated. The plan right now is to release Pink on Monday at 10:00 am. We want to make sure he has a full belly before we send him out on his own.
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Pink was back up high again this morning. He did make it back to the floor sometime yesterday. Today would have been a cleaning day (getting leftovers out of the tower), but we didn’t want to spook Pink until he was ready to come down. Yellow perched on the water dishes with a big hunk of fish and Green is doing a lot of pacing. Orange is exercising his wings by flying back and forth on the floor of the tower. When Pink finally did come down today, he flew down from the top green perch and landed on the water track. He then tried to beg fish off of Yellow. No dice. He is such a strange bird. He started off as the bully, then the meek beggar, first to carry fish to the water, first to fly but still a beggar. I can’t quite figure him out.
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
The birds have been rather boring until today. At about 9:00 a.m., Pink flew to the low perch and proceeded to flap hop up to the branch, climb to the other green perch and happily look down over all of the other birds. We got to watch the whole thing. So much fun. I would imagine that Yellow will shortly follow. An exciting day!
Friday, July 27, 2012
I got an exciting email from Blair Lawson this morning. He was out at the wetland last night around 8:00 p.m. and saw all three adult Ospreys on the nesting platform (2009 Black, his lady friend, and the other male bird from this spring). It is great to know that they are still here and hanging around the young. I am hoping that they return next year with an additional female. It would be outstanding if we had two nesting pairs in our area! As for our youngsters, they are doing well. I have seen everyone but Orange taking low flights around the tower. No one is hitting perches yet but the activity is promising. Yellow has started to flap at the gate when we go up to feed. He thinks he is ready to go. Next week should be exciting.
Thursday, July 26, 2012
The birds are all enjoying today’s cooler weather. They are up and about, preening, stretching, and doing low flights to the front of the tower and back.
I spoke with Kay Neumann (of SOAR, Saving Our Avian Resources) today. SOAR has our injured osprey chick from two years ago. He is going to be released this summer. If you remember, last year he was ready to go but molted all of his flight feathers. By the time he regained them it was winter. This summer he is in the flight pen at her facility building up his muscles and should be ready to go by the end of summer. I hope to have pictures of his release when he does take flight.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Boring day in the tower today. Everyone has eaten and they are congregating around the water bowls. For the first time in four years they are using the water bowls for more than just a perch. They are drinking it. That is about all the excitement for today.
Monday, July 23, 2012
Yellow is full of energy this morning. He now flies from the water bowl to the front of the tower. He then turned around and flew back to the water track. He is not flap hopping anymore. He is definitely getting air. He keeps eyeballing the perch at the front of the box. Pink keeps dragging fish around the tower. He was caught in the act this morning. They are all on track to be flying in the next couple of weeks.
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Someone drug a piece of fish to the water track and munched on it during the day yesterday. My guess is Yellow. This morning Yellow was eating while perched on a fish. As he was finishing up, he drug the piece of fish near the water track, but never tried to perch on the track with it. Green appeared to be eating while perched on a fish too. Orange likes to pounce on fish as we throw them in. I don’t know if you have noticed or not, but Orange has a feather on his head that is out of place from an argument with pink in the early days in the tower. He looks like a fancy chicken. Pink hasn’t tried to pick a fight with another bird since that day until today. He tried to challenge Yellow this morning while Yellow was eating. Yellow never backed away and eventually Pink found a new piece of fish. Everyone seems to be doing a lot of flapping this morning while it is still cool. While writing this, I am glancing back at the camera and pink is now eating a piece of fish on the water track. I didn’t see him drag it up but Yellow has not left his perch on the water dish. Pink is a sneaky one.
Saturday, July 21, 2012
I had a group of cub scouts from Norwalk helping me feed this morning. Everyone is looking good. Yellow is really exercising those wings. He flap-hops from one side of the water track to the other. It will be interesting to see if Green also tries this new trick. The two of them seem to challenge each other to do new tricks.
Thursday, July 19, 2012
An adult was flying over the wetland again this morning. All of the birds seem to be relaxing today. The heat is taking a bit of a toll on them and on all of us. They are all eating well, just not overexerting.
Hoping for a break in the heat tomorrow.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Lots of excitement today. One of the adults was flying over the tower when we went to feed. They had all of the youngsters in an uproar. Yellow and Green were putting on a show. They would perch on the water track and flap hop to the front and side of the tower. They would walk back to the water perch and do it again. Both are getting a lot of air under their wings. I would guess they will hit the short green perch sometime next week. It is going to be hot again today, but the birds seem to be handling the heat well.
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
It is going to be a hot one today! Yesterday evening we went to spray. All of the birds were pancaked out on the floor of the tower. As soon as the water started, everyone got up and looked rejuvenated. We will continue to spray today. The birds looked good this morning and had another visit by one of the adult birds. One of them seems to be there around 7 a.m. each morning and leaves before 8 a.m. Flapping continues today. Orange attacks fish as they are thrown into the tower. He still looks a bit clumsy but I like his spirit. Until tomorrow…
Monday, July 16, 2012
We have begun using the misters in the tower. With the heat we will be misting them in the middle of the day and in the early evening. The birds are doing well. Yellow and Green are getting a little bit of air when they flap. Everyone can perch on the water bowls and they all have hearty appetites. They are also starting to grasp the fish as they tear it apart. Soon they will be picking up chunks and moving around the tower with them. Pink no longer seems to be a bully. They are all tolerating each other pretty well.
Saturday and Sunday, July 14 & 15, 2012
The birds are all eating better now that they are settled in their new home. With the heartier appetites, they are also exercising more. There has been a lot of flapping going on. Yellow and Green are our strongest flappers by far. Yellow is attempting to flap-hop. Pink has finally joined the rest of the youngsters at the water track and baby down is floating around everywhere.
Friday, July 13, 2012
Everyone seems to have settled down a bit and found their groove. Yellow and Green are really starting to flap a bunch and work those muscles, Orange continues to enjoy sitting in front of the gate and Pink hasn’t bothered the others. He is a bit like an ornery child. When we are feeding he pancakes out on the floor. When we leave he runs the tower. It should be another week or two before things really get exciting in the tower.
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Today didn’t start off on a good note. Baby Blue did not make it through the night. Blue was the youngest of all of the birds and most likely did not handle the stress of being moved. Foul play did not appear to be involved. All of the other birds are doing well this morning. Green is flapping quite a bit and has taken to perching on the water bowls. Orange likes to hang out in the front of the tower, Yellow has a healthy appetite, and Pink is still ruling the roost.
On an exciting note, an adult Osprey was perched in the tree next to the hack tower this morning chatting with our youngsters.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Today we welcomed our last batch of young Osprey to the hack tower. Doug Gaumer and I collected the 5, 5 week-old chicks from the Brainerd, Minnesota area on Monday, July 9th. We have Baby Blue (who is our smallest bird), Green, Orange, Yellow, and Pink. When we placed the birds this morning I would have told you that Orange and Green were the most rambunctious of the birds, but after watching them on the cam Pink has really come into his own. Once we left the area he asserted his power with both Yellow and Orange. He will be the one to watch. Yellow immediately walked up and perched on the water bowl and everyone ate well. Until tomorrow…
Before we get into chick news, lets rewind a bit to April of this year. There was more excitement than usual this spring. Osprey were spotted quite frequently. Most years we have a couple of birds visit the area around the time of the 5k, but this spring 3 birds never left. A male began to build on the nesting platform across from the hack tower. He soon had a mate. They were both spotted regularly around the nature center and built a beautiful nest. I was just a bit excited. Mike Rolands from the Indianola Record Herald came out with one of his gigantic camera lenses and snapped a few shots of the birds. With his help we were able to identify the male as baby black from the 2009 batch of youngsters. His mate is unbanded. As it turns out, they were just practicing this year. They never laid eggs or tended their nest. I am hopeful they will help our youngsters this year and come back next year to raise their own youngsters. They can be spotted around the nature center and Lake Ahquabi frequently.