DN6 at Decorah North
We are sorry to announce the death of youngest North eaglet DN6. We believe that DN6 died of hypothermia, which weakened it to the point that it could no longer feed and eventually killed it. The cold, wet weather shortened feeding times and created a need for more calories. While Mom and Dad North provide a high level of care for their young, they don’t single out eaglets that can’t compete with siblings for additional care and feeding – something that DN6 was not able to do given the difference in age and development between it and the two older eaglets. We were encouraged by Dad’s attempts to feed DN6 while Mom fed the other two – perhaps DN6 would have survived in warmer, drier weather.
s small as it was, it wouldn’t have taken long for it to lose heat and become too weak to feed despite eating some food on hatch day evening, and a nice feeding Sunday.
It is worth noting that sibling aggression does not appear to have played an especially big role this year. DN6 got a few bonkings, but DN4 and DN5 really focused on one another. DN6 did not compete effectively enough to become a serious target for his two older siblings…although it did get one bonk into DN4, who turned around and bonked DN5!
DN4 and DN5 are just barely over a day apart in age, healthy, strong, and fairly evenly matched. Eaglet battling is a normal developmental stage, but one that should be ending soon. We believe that, absent any catastrophic events like last year’s methomyl poisoning, both of them are likely to survive until fledge.