Monday, June 3, 2013

Next Update on the Bluebirds Postponed! .... BUT, comma ....

          I regret to say that our next update on our Parc Perlière Bluebirds is postponed.  We have encountered technical difficulties with the editing of the videos that we wish to create:  the last 7 days in the box and the fledging day!  We have enjoyed watching the fledglings in the yard now that they come to the feeder but I will save those stories for the update.  Hopefully, we will overcome the technical issues as Carl continues to work the problem.  Sigh!  Just to give you one visual teaser though, here's a photo of one of the chicks waiting on top of the mealworm feeder for his papa to get his worm.  Papa seems to be distracted though by that pesky photographer.

Eastern Bluebird chick wondering what the hold-up is on delivery of the mealworm -- April 25, 2013

        The "BUT, comma ... " in the title does mean that I have something else to share!  In fact you may become so riveted by these links, you may find it difficult to tear yourself away from the computer!  I swear it is so much better than television!  So what are these totally engrossing links that I am going to share?  Live Nest Cams -- all over the United States.  I cannot show you our babies in the nest due to server size limitations.  But you can watch baby Red-tailed Hawks, Baby Osprey, Baby Great Blue Herons, etc!

         So let's start the list!  First from the National Audubon Society, a live web cam mounted on a nesting platform is recording the story of a love triangle between 2 female Osprey, Trudy and Rachel, and a male Osprey Steve.  The previous link will give you the details (& video) on this story and will also take you to the live cam so that you can watch the saga as it unfolds.  Last time I looked, there were three eggs in the nest!  Today, I received an e-mail alert from Audubon stating that the chicks were beginning to hatch.  If you look in now, you may see an egg hatch!  But whose are they?  You will have to read the article and watch to find out!  Below is a photo of a pair of Osprey nesting here locally at Caw Caw Nature & History Interpretive Center.  As far as I know they did not have to deal with interlopers.

A pair of Osprey on the nest at Caw Caw in Ravenel, SC -- March 30, 2013

           Another wonderful live cam on an Osprey nest, featuring Ozzie and Harriet, this one sponsored in part and transmitted over the internet by Cornell Lab of Ornithology, is located at the Dunrovin Guest Ranch in  Lolo, Montana.  The chicks hatched just last week! They are so cute!  And yet another pair of Ospreys, the Hellgate Canyon pair are on this cam over a parking lot next to a busy highway in Missoula, Montana.  The Hellgate pair are on eggs that are expected to hatch in mid to late June.  This cam is also sponsored in part and transmitted over the internet by Cornell Lab of Ornithology.  Both of these nests are part of the Osprey Project of the Environmental Biogeochemistry Laboratory of the University of Montana.  This team is trying to determine the causes for a high degree of fatality among Osprey chicks in the area.

        Another wildlife cam sponsored by the National Audubon Society shows Atlantic Puffin on the Puffin Loafing Ledge.  Links on this page will tell you the success story on how Atlantic Puffin returned to the rocks to breed after an absence of 100 years due to the conservation efforts of Steve Kress.  Eventually, once the puffin egg has hatched, we should get glimpses of a chick's life in the burrow via the Puffin Burrow Cam.  I regret to say that I do not have any Atlantic Puffin photos to share.  Hopefully one day, I will be able to attend one of Audubon's Hog Island Summer Camps and I will be able to observe and photograph these wonderful, unreal birds then!

       Yet an additional bird cam, broadcast live by Cornell Lab of Ornithology and sponsored by the Peregrine Fund's American Kestrel Partnership, shows you life inside and outside of an American Kestrel nestbox, in Boise, Idaho!   This box contains 5 young, fuzzy chicks hatched last week.  American Kestrels over-winter here on the coast of South Carolina but I do believe that most, if not all, depart to breed further inland.  Below, you can see a photo of an American Kestrel that I was able to photograph in the ACE Basin during the 2012 Christmas Bird Count

America Kestrel -- ACE Basin -- January 1, 2013

        Of course, the Peregrine Fund has a Peregrine Falcon Nest Cam, also located in Boise, Idaho!   I just discovered this web cam.  It appears there are 4 young chicks in this nestbox overlooking downtown Boise.  I have not had many opportunities to photograph Peregrines.  A few do over-winter in our area but they are not very common here.  This species is beginning to make a comeback after being listed as Federally Endangered since 1973.  Due to a successful captive breeding and re-introduction program, peregrine falcons have begun nesting in the Carolina mountains in the last 30 years.   Here in SC, this species has successfully bred at Caesars Head State Park since 1990 and now, since 2008, peregrines have also nested in the Jocassee Gorges.  I have not had an opportunity to see this beautiful bird perched in the wild but I did attempt once to photograph its magnificent high speed (up to 200 mph) arial dives and acrobatic assaults on other species from atop Caesars Head State Park

Peregrine Falcon in a dive -- Caesars Head State Park  -- upstate SC -- September 25, 2010

It is much easier to photograph this bird when he is just "coasting" in a more horizontal fashion.

Peregrine Falcon -- Caesars Head State Park -- upstate SC -- September 25, 2010

Young Peregrine Falcon -- Bulls Island -- Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge -- February 27, 2011

        The Cornell Lab of Ornithology also hosts a Great Blue Heron live nest cam at its Sapsucker Woods Laboratory.  I recommend clicking on the 2nd camera angle tab.  The view is better due to the fact that the main camera is fairly well covered with bird poop!  Great Blue Herons do not keep house well.  If you prefer a live, cleaner view of Great Blue Herons nesting, you can visit the local rookery in the Audubon Swamp Garden at Magnolia Gardens in the Spring here in Charleston! 

Great Blue Heron -- Audubon Swamp Garden -- Magnolia Plantation & Gardens -- Charleston, SC -- March 27, 2008

Great Blue Heron chicks -- Audubon Swamp Garden -- Magnolia Plantation & Gardens -- Charleston, SC -- April 13, 2008

        Finally, I have been saving the BEST FOR LAST!  That's the rule in the Johnson home -- just ask my brother!  The absolute best nest cam RIGHT NOW -- because these 3 young  chicks are on the verge of fledging any moment now -- is the live Red-Tailed Hawk nest cam on a stadium light platform at Cornell University on the middle of the campus.  I blogged about this nest site early last summer -- post fledging, in a post called  "Another Red-Tailed Hawk Family in Far-Away Cornell Land."   Since it was post-fledging, I shared in that write-up the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's photo compilation of all the different stages of these young hawks' life in the nest as well as their YouTube video of how they installed the nest cams on top of the light platform in February in freezing, windy upstate New York weather.  After all of that, wouldn't you know that those parents decided to nest on a different platform this Spring!  So the folks at Cornell University had to dismantle and remount the cameras above the new nest late this winter.  Kudos to those guys!  Truly this cam is not to be missed!  Carl and I have followed the family life of our own neighborhood Red-Tailed Hawks for a few years now.  Our hawks also built a new nest -- somewhere unknown to us!  Sigh!  We believe their chick has fledged as we have heard his typical Red-Tailed Hawk cry.  But we have not yet spotted him.  The picture below is of one of the chicks from 2011.

Recently fledged Red-Tailed Hawk chick -- James Island, SC -- June 21, 2011

 I have seen the parents this year still hanging out on their favorite roost -- the satellite dish high above the school.

Red-Tailed Hawk Family watching over junior high above school James Island  -- Charleston, SC -- June 23, 2012

If you are interested in learning more about the history of our neighborhood hawks, you can check out these three posts from last year and the year before:

"History of a Red-Tailed Hawk Family -- Part 1"
"History of a Red-Tailed Hawk Family -- Part 2"
"History of a Red-Tailed Hawk Family -- Part 3" 

Truly though, before you read (or re-visit those old posts), check out the Cornell University Red-Tailed Hawk nestcam!  You just might see those young hawks make their first flight!  So exciting! 

        So there you have it -- quite a list of interesting live bird action to watch on the internet!  Just do not become so riveted that you forget about the wildlife outside your doors too!

PS:  While I have been working on this post, Carl has found a resolution to the video editing difficulties encountered in making our latest bluebird videos.  I should soon be able to produce a post updating you on our Eastern Bluebird family here at Parc Perlière!  


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