What’s On The Menu at Decorah North Nest?

Written by Sherri Elliott

A plethora of prey was procured, dispatched and delivered at Decorah North Nest this season, and while Mr & Mrs North do not have the convenience of a fish hatchery directly out their door as their eagle neighbors to the south, the quantity of fish and other prey was substantial and varied. Probably most unusual to even seasoned viewers was the cow placenta, and the road kill cat. What we learn again is not only are eagle parents excellent purveyors in providing provisions for their family, and that nothing is wasted in the pantree. What little remains of pelts or a carcass is dutifully taken away to the dump after being picked clean. Here we see DN1, aka ‘Dances With Prey’, enjoying the thrill of prey hunting this squirrel nestover and prancing around with it.

Prey Delivered to the DNN Nest 2016

  • Fish … (trout, sucker, and catfish)
  • Opossum & Muskrat
  • Mink
  • Raccoon
  • Turkey Wings & Breast Bone (food and many memories with feathers)
  • Blue Turkey Head
  • Cow Placenta (cowghetti)
  • Gray Squirrel & fetus
  • Fox Squirrel
  • Ground Squirrel
  • Fawn … (various pieces legs, hind section, head & spine)
  • Rabbits
  • Groundhog
  • Crow
  • Grebe
  • Coot
  • Flicker
  • Mallard Duckling
  • Various rodents … (mole, vole, mouse)
  • Young Cat … (black and white roadkill)
  • Multiple UFO’s or Mystery Meat … (some unidentifiable as parcels from field dressing prey, or mantled quickly and unable to ascertain)

What percentage of prey is fish vs other meat protein? I’ll leave that up to someone else to figure out volume wise or by poundage. But it was interesting to note that of all the prey items brought into the nest (using 5 or more of a species as indicator for frequency) here’s the breakdown:

  • Fish: 109. Most whole, some already eaten, and a record 5 fish in one day on 5/4/16.
  • Opossum & Muskrat: 10
  • Raccoon: 10
  • Fawn sections: 9
  • Rabbit: 5
  • UFO’s or other ‘Mystery Meat’: 20

Aside from picking at nestovers, DN1 ate only 2 meals on the nest after fledge on 7/9/16. Other meals have either been provided by Mr & Mrs North, and we believe that DN1 is also learning how to forage, fish, and hunt. On 8/9/16 DN1 appeared to be bringing its own dinner into the lower Pasture Branch just before dusk.

The DNN Live Cam will shut down on Sunday, August 28th. For now, it may still be viewed via Ustream and Explore:

If you missed my 2016 DNN Tribute Video, here’s the link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfI4UdhMlas (Amy’s note: this video will also play at Ustream and possibly Explore during our shut-down period).