In Decorah: Hoohooooos at the nest, great fly-ins, snow goggles, DM2 on top, and a flock of geese! At Decorah North: eagles in the snow, a snowy brood patch, and very cool nest visitors. An bald eagle nest can be a nursery, a home, a grocery store, or a Nest Depot for squirrels, mice, and small birds, and a potential real estate location for competitors like owls and other bald eagles. Our camera operators gave us a glimpse at both of those categories this weekend!
I loved all the videos but, well – I loved all the videos and don’t really have favorites this time! I hope you like them as much as we did!
2/17/19: Nice fly ins, new stick, fit test – https://youtu.be/ctil2FG0Das
. Start watching at 48 seconds for a really cool fly-in by Mom, closely followed by DM2. The two of them trample snow, dig grasses and husks from beneath the snowcover, and DM2 fit tests the nest bowl before Mom flies in with a stick from Nest Depot. The fly-ins are extremely cool, DM2’s fit test leaves me feeling a little chilly (check his underside at 8:09 as he responds to Mom coming in), and check out his snow goggles (ie nictitating membrane) at 7:39 moving forward.
2/16/19: DM2 on top – https://youtu.be/KBazcZxHWy8
. I’m a little hesitant to call this a successful mating. Our eagle panel was not willing to completely discount fertilization with Mom on top as long as a cloacal kiss occurred, and we don’t want to count our eggs before they are laid. But given the sheer number of dominance displays we’ve seen at Decorah, it was reassuring to see DM2 take the lead today!
2/16/19: Night Owl Visit – https://youtu.be/onb4Bf2H8GI
. An barred owl visited N2B. It investigated the nest, briefly sat down in the nestbowl, and looked around alertly. At a couple points, it appeared to be probing the nest’s floor, probably for nestovers or mice.
2/16/19: Mom watches a flock of geese – https://youtu.be/SybQvB8uVPk
. The geese begin flying by at 6 seconds and it’s a large flock, taking about 9 seconds to get past N2B. I wasn’t able to count all of them, but got to 50! Make sure your sound is on – it is really fun to hear them call.
Decorah North Eagles
2/17/19: Eagles in the snow – https://youtu.be/n93R0DAI2ow
. While we hope the North’s get a break from the snow, this is a really lovely video. Check 1:34. See the snowy area on DNF? That’s her brood patch. Enough heat leaks through to cause snow to cling. Don’t worry – it isn’t a threat and it will soon be gone!
2/16/19: Nice wad of grasses and mating – https://youtu.be/jTvX5-UP740
. So when will the Decorah North eagles lay eggs? Mr. North and DNF have been mating regularly and working hard on their nest. However, we have no history for her and this is her first year at this nest, which often pushes things a little later. Watch for to spend more time near and on the nest as she gains weight (especially water weight, since egg production is extremely water-intensive), and becomes gravid with eggs.
2/16/19: Nest visitors. In some ways, an eagle’s nest is similar to a woodland reef. It can provide a home (basement dwellers like mice and small birds), a source of food (basement dwellers and a wide variety of visitors), and attracts other eagles. While we don’t think of eagles as social because they are territorial on their home ranges, eagles attract other eagles – something we often see along the North Superflyway!
In short order, the visitors are:
A subadult bald eagle under IR light: https://youtu.be/unb-nD9_vrI
. Given the time of year, this eagle is most likely making a stop as it wanders through its large winter range.