What a day at all of our nests today! In addition to the first egg at the North Nest, Mr. North showed a juvenile eagle the business end of his talons, DM2 and Mom got busy, and Newman demonstrated some falcon yoga at Great Spirit Bluff! We also have some spectacular close-ups at the Decorah and Decorah North nests.
The accompanying cap shows how quickly the North eagles got their nestbowl and egg cup ready for eggs following yesterday’s snowpocalypse! Instead of moving and brushing away snow all around the nest, they focused on the egg cup. Their dedication and hard work meant that the nest was ready when DNF laid her first egg this afternoon! It’s a wonderful reminder of the tenderness and trust the eagles display towards one another and towards their young.
Decorah North Eagles
2/21/19: Busy day in the Valley of the Norths recap – https://youtu.be/7FATYP-o0yE
. This video is wonderful! It includes beautiful sunrise perching, a cool slow-mo fly-out, nestorations at 1:11 (and now we know that was urgent business), a hawk, a lovely juvie visitor (3:18), the visitor being chased off by Mr. North (5:07 and it’s pretty spectacular), more nestorations, and egg-laying at the very end of the video!
First egg videos
2/19/19: Gorgeous close-ups and nest activity – https://youtu.be/RAkwbKiSbFU
. The video opens with great vocals and copulation, but do not miss the close-ups starting at 1:09 and again at 3:25. They are spectacular! The camera operator treats to facial views, feathers (note how frosty Mr. North is), rimal feathers, and a little breakfast!
2/19/19: Rabbit for lunch! https://youtu.be/BzaSxGH8j68
. This is a long video with great close-ups and a nice look at the snowy valley of the Norths! Some viewers may find the scenes of prey-eating disturbing, although it is a great example of just how sensitive and delicate a bald eagle’s large, powerful beak can get. DNF is a master carver when it comes to eating.
2/19/19: DNF dominance display and mating – https://youtu.be/NnEwH0suJsY
. We’ve been asked how common dominance displays are. While I can’t speak for all nests, we see them at all three of the nests we watch. Why do they happen? Larger females may be signaling that they are approachable to smaller males, and the hormones coursing through her body may also be driving them to take action!
2/21/19: Mom ready for her closeups – https://youtu.be/Lh9zBm1nICY
. What a beautiful eagle! Starting at around 1:00, the camera operator moves in for great views of Mom’s face and feathers (the darker, sleeker feathers are new, while the paler, more raggedy feathers are older and will be molted out soon). Mom sits on the Skywalk in a classic Mom pose!
2/21/19: Nest visit, copulation: https://youtu.be/iF3CF_85Qjk
. Another dominance display by Mom! She covers DNF and twists and moves her tail in a display that lasts about 10 seconds. If you look very closely, you’ll see her give him a little nibble at 6:43. It must have been inspiring since he covers her at 8:15, twisting his tail down around hers and flying off at the end.
2/20/19: DM2 scoops out the nest – https://youtu.be/0MLDQEHQ56s
. Snow, snow, go away! Look for a little nibble at 02 before DM2 starts scraping in the nest bowl.
Great Spirit Bluff
2/21/19: Newman with the moves – https://youtu.be/SoOWBauO3bg
. Newman scratches, does a little falcon yoga, and gives us a look at his lovely dark back, white chest, and barred underparts. See those long skinny toes? Falcons hit hard, but they don’t crush or strangle with their feet like eagles and owls often do. Their prey also tends to be easier to puncture. Passerine birds might struggle and jab, but they don’t bite like squirrels or even rabbits. Like everything else about falcons (stiffly edged feathers, nose cone, long slightly curved wings), they reflect a life lived at high speed.