We’re catching up with our nests tonight and tomorrow morning. Tonight: Decorah and Great Spirit Bluff! In Decorah, Mom and UME2 are busy with nest preparation. I tried to pick a favorite Decorah video but couldn’t – although don’t miss ‘eagle chases squirrel off nest’ if you want to see squirrel acrobatics, and ‘new materials’ for a very nice look at nestorations and decorah-ating! The Great Spirit Bluff video shows us that all that passes, passes like clouds reflected in water. The Dakota origin for the word ‘Minnesota’ is perfectly captured in the title for this video.
12/26/18: New materials! https://youtu.be/JVEpRMQps34. I love seeing how the nest changes from month to month and day to day. Mom and UME-2 are piling the crib rails high, making sticky decisions, and preparing the area underlying the eventual egg-cup. Soft materials are layered over a substrate of compost. Both eagles – but especially the male at all of our nests – dig into the area underneath what will become the egg-cup. Loosening the underlying material aids drainage, helps prevent breakage, and is more comfortable for incubating adults!
12/24/18: Eagle chases squirrel off the nest – https://youtu.be/HBJY4NC69Ao. Incoming! Fox squirrel winter breeding in Iowa begins in early to mid-January, which means that females are on the edge of estrus and busy putting on fat and building or fortifying nests. Start at 43 seconds to see some great squirrel acrobatics as it escapes from an incoming eagle!
12/21/18: Evening snacks – https://youtu.be/Aj-FPxP28mA. The family that eats together stays together! Look for close-ups of Mom starting at 2:47. What little we see of her prey makes me think rabbit.
12/20/18: UME2 having mouse for dinner – https://youtu.be/btoRA6hXens. I included this in part because we’ve had a number of conversations about the eagles eating mice. Do they eat mice and other small rodents (voles and moles)? Yes! Was this one of the basement tenants? Probably not, since he brought it into the nest. Watchers might find this disturbing, but you can see it very clearly at 2:07.
12/20/18: Mom close-ups – https://youtu.be/Np9niXtZni0. The close-ups start at 58 seconds and they are lovely! A must-see for fans of Mom!
Great Spirit Bluff
12/24/18: Gazing at clouds…on the water – https://youtu.be/TvJVrMqtgAM. This is a really lovely video! Clouds create a shadowplay across the land and are beautifully reflected in the water. The word ‘Minnesota’ (Mnisota) comes from the Dakota language. ‘Mni’ is a word for water, but there is some argument about ‘sota’. Some say it means ‘sky-tinted’; ie the water is so clear it reflects the clouds, and others argue that it means ‘cloudy’: the water is carrying so much soil that it looks cloudy or milky, something you especially see in bodies of water enclosed in soils with a heavy clay content. This video – and this book – argue for the first:http://theuptake.org/2013/01/02/minnesota-is-a-dakota-place/. All that passes, passes like clouds.