Please, do not hamper a young bird's life by picking it up, and taking it home with you. It is calling its parents to help them in locating it.
After fledgling from the nest, the parent birds will keep feeding it, and look out for it, until it will be able to look after itself.
And the reason you cannot see a parent is because of your own proxomity to the young bird. And while you are ebating if or not you should take the bird home, you keep the parent from giving it well needed nutrition in the form of a meal!


The photos on this blog are all taken by me. If there is any picture you might want to use for any other than personal use, please drop me a line to the email address shown in the sidebar on the right.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Does the Sea or White Tail Eagle kill Lambs?

Since the reintroduction of White tailed- or Sea Eagles in Scotland, there have been by the local farmers th these large birds taking their lambs.

It is vital that it is proven once and for all, if the disappearing sheep are taken by the large birds. A row between crofters and the Royal society for the Protection of Birds in September last year, in which the conservationists claimed they would only take carrion, Herring Gulls, Fulmar and fish thrown to them by fisherman. Yet the crofters have lost large amounts of lamb. Without this survey, the future of the Sea Eagle might be in dire straits. Was it not the killing of sheep which left the specie go extinct in the first place?

Now, a new survey will finally answer the question of how many lambs are taken by the Eagles.

I am sure that the outcome will have impact on the future of the Sea Eagles in any area where these magnificent birds have been introduced (and met with hostility by farming communities)

However I'm praying the outcome will be in favour of the birds. With the breeding season ahead of us, the parents will to ensure that their chicks get the most nutritious and nourishing food. (which I would think is fish rather than lamb) however finding enough fish to make up the weight of a lamb does demand incredible doses of energy by the parents.

I am sure that Kate and Bill will report on this survey, as they followed Skye & Frieda and their chicks in the past. And who knows, these parents might have stuck to the diet of fish just because the eye of the nation was following them on television?

Access to birding in Dingle's Peninsula.

The West Kerry Branch has published a leaflet on birding on the Dingle peninsula for visitors interested in a few hours away from the town and its many attractions, besides Fungi the Dolphin.

I was pleased to learn from Jill and Ian Cosher that

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What is wrong with my Jackdaw, part two.

Yesterday I posted pictures of my "red-eye/feathermite" Jackdaw. Wondering if he was suffering from an infection.
Today, however, when searching for the pictures on my laptop to send to Niall at Birdwatch, I spotted other ones I had taken at the same day of the other photos.

Jackdaw, Corvus monedula, on 12/04/09,at 10am

Same Jackdaw, on 12/04, at 6pm.

And a closer view of same eye:

So, apparently, whatever it is, which causes the loss of feathers, it is working quite rapid, when you look at not only the area around the eye, but also the forehead which shows this hard crust.
at the left side, as you can see here, the eye is clearly affected already but not as severe as on the right wing side.

Being social birds, Jackdaws like to mingle with other Corvae, and in my case this means with other Jackdaws and with Rooks and Hooded Crows. It could well be that this disease, infection, can spread to the other birds. It does not look like Trichomoniasis, to which Corvae seem to be susceptible also, just like Finches, and Sparrows.
Apart from good hygiene, there is little I can do, I think. I have not seen the bird since Sunday. However i am extra vigilant with the rest of the Jackdaws and the Rooks and the Hooded Crows, just in case this 'infection' spreads to any other member of the grey and blacks.
Also, I will send the relevant pictures to Niall at Birdwatch, to see what he makes of it.
I just hope that it is not contagious to my other birds.

Not one but two sick Jackdaws?

Yesterday I posted pictures of my "red-eye/feather-mite" Jackdaw. Wondering if he was suffering from an infection.
Today, however, when searching for the pictures on my laptop to send to Niall at Birdwatch, I spotted other ones I had taken at the earlier that day.
As you can see here, the right eye has not turned red yet. In the second, and third photos the change of colour is clearly visible.
In the
Jackdaw, Corvus monedula, on 12/04/09,at 10am

Same Jackdaw, on 12/04, at 6pm.

And a closer view:

So, apparently, whatever it is, which causes the loss of feathers, it is working quite rapid.
I presume that this bird's immune system was affected also.
What I am concerned about mostly, is what are the risks to the other Jackdaws?

Because Jackdaws are social birds

Because Jackdaws are social birds

Monday, April 27, 2009

Jackdaw with red eye and loss of feathers.

Just before Easter I spotted this Jackdaw which had come with what looked like feather-loss like a Robin which lost all its head feathers in the winter of 2007/2008.. Then I spotted the one red eye, something which I had not seen before. Does this bird carry an infection of some sorts? The skull looks very dry and crusted too.
With Elly's passing from this material world, other things needed my attention yet the Jackdaw stayed in my mind, also because it kept returning until the 12th this month.

Jackdaw, Corvus monedula

Being pecked by the Rooks this boy (or girl) had really difficulty in feeding peacefully. . So I started shooing off the Rooks with water in the plantsprayer. I hoped to create a quiet area for the Jackdaw. However I might have created the opposite.
Did my sprayer (which I use through the window) scare the poor thing?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

mountain Dogs save Penguins from extintion.

A 1000 strong colony of Fairy Penguins was threathened with extintion when the Middle island off the coast of Australia allowed Foxes and Wild Dogs access to the small island by low tide. Italian Sheep Dogs where called in to protect the small herd of the 10 remaining birds and now the numbers are well on the up with the last count of 82 and 26 chicks.

The story is here.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Albatross find in Amsterdam

When in 1977 the East line of the Metro was built, the diggers found the 60cm beak of what then was thought to be a large Gull. Together with all the other useless bones and artifacts, these were dumped somewhere in the city's archive.

Only a byline of a guy, who was interested in what one could find in sewage tanks, (smelly job, lol.) in an article he had written on his finds, brought two birders from the local Seabirds group down to view the item.
(the line in brackets read:"Oh, and the large beak in the city's archive is not a Gull but an Albatross)

Around the date of the beak, 17 or 18 century, Amsterdam was on the route of the major shipping lines, which were in this time were really taking off. and that the bird's beak must
have travelled north this way seems almost certain.

The two birders even speak of albatross kept as pet on the decks. with so much obstacles, it was very hard for them to take off, and the sailors liked them with their wobbly walk and funny calls.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Return of the Swallows (and Greennfinches too?)

I go down to the shop in the village about every other day, to buy the Irish Times, a bottle of wine and fresh fruit and veg. Going along the same road this often, you get to know the changes in the wildlife en route. Also it is a good way of checking the remaining hedgerow, how the House Sparrows are doing, and the Ivy's flowers, fruit and residents. Sometimes Mr. Blackbird is foraging alongside the road. The distinctive calls of the Jackdaws, Rooks and Pied Wagtails (with the House Sparrows trying to overpower these powerful cries, with their own.

In summer another specie add their voice to the choir and it is one which create that delightful jumping of heartbeats. And it even touches the control panel of my wheels, when she stops, so that I can look up, or duck when the birds call from their favourite spot on an overhead telephone cable or fly past, which is usually very low over my head.

How can one not like and admire Swallows? The bird which means spring and summer to so many of us, wherever you live. Perhaps it is one of the most successful family of birds also? Having 88 species worldwide, bar remote oceanic islands, and the poles, 1 of these species is endangered, with 4 are vulnerable.
those who have followed the Wild China series on the BBC, will have had their hearts melt in one of the first programs, the 1st or 2nd, I believe, as the Chinese man removes the winter protection of their house to let the Swallows enter his house to start restoring their nests which line the kitchen, with the birds And how he times the sowing of his rice paddies by the arrival of his summer guests. Early or late return of the Swallows decides the best time to sow his rice paddy.

My camera will mostly come with me to the shop, sitting happily and tight in my bag on my lap, whenever it is dry. I took out my camera again yesterday, not that I could give a reason why I did this.
Coming out of the shop, I heard something familiar, and I kept looking up. It was not that typical Swallow chatter, but even so I knew they had arrived. You know how sometimes yuo can sense things. As I turned into the backroad I went faster, because I knew that if they had arrived, this is where they'd be; perched on the overhead telephone cable. And so they were! My first intention was to hurry home, grab the camera! Which I did not do. I realised it was much too cold. So I am afraid you have to do with last year's, sitting on the fence in the garden.

Barn Swallow, Hirundo rustica

Up until the autumn of 2006, a mixed flock of Goldfinches, Greenfinches and Siskins would arrive in the gaden, staying until leaving again in spring. Until the next 16th of October. The three finches would spend the winter feeding from the peanutfeeder and the Sunflowerseeds on the birdtable. The Siskins hanging down with head down of course. Last year, some of the three species arrived, this tim during spring. I did only get very brief visits from them. Then, on the day were leaving for Holland, and while the driver of the Irish Wheelchair Association bus was entering the house, this young Goldfinch appeared at the birdtable. It was really hard to leave the house after that delightful sight!
For the rest of 2007 and 2008, I would sometimes see the Goldfinches or Greenfinches come onto the cage/fencing or the Fennel and look down at who was about and what was up for diner. Only rarely would they come down to feed. (in the summer it is the large amounts of House Sparrow fledglings and juvies which keep them out, I think, as these do rise to a minimal of 50 most years. )
So it was a real surprise when I started seeing Greenfinches in the planter. Two or three come down in the morning around 9 or 10am.

This male seemed quite a messy eater on this Sunflower seed from the seed mixes in the planter.
male Greenfinch, Gardulus chloris

These two pictures show how a bird will take off from a narrow opening. The spreading of the wings will only happen once in the air.

A few others in the garden and the estate:
Blue Tit, Parus caeruleus
  1. female House Sparrow, Passer domesticus
The Jackdaws are seriously courting. It is wonderful to see these cute pairs.

courting Jackdaws, Corvus monedula
male House Sparrow, Passer domesticus

here the Jackdaw male feeds the female as part of him showing he is able to provide for her and their chicks.