A second egg is confirmed at the Decorah North Nest!

February 24, 2019: 2nd egg at the North Nest

Second egg at the North Nest

From John Howe:

“We were watching closely through the incredible wind rain and snow storms to see when DNF would lay her second egg. Sunday was day number 3 since she laid her first egg and that is the general time we have observed between eggs at both of our Decorah eagle nests. It was a very windy day and we saw DNF and Mr. North sitting pretty tightly to the first egg. Shortly after 12:00 noon, we observed DNF lift slightly up off of the nest cup. It was not as high as the typical position when laying an egg, but there were actions that lead us to believe that she may have laid an egg around 12:23 CT. Video here: https://youtu.be/oQHlCBluLEQ.

She starts by sitting off her egg – tucked down a bit more than we typically see, but she is having what look like contraction movements. These continue.

She looks forward and down while visible beak movements indicate she is chirping (1:13, 1:23, and 1:29 minutes into the video). The chirping is not audible over the roar of the wind, but it looks as if she is chirping in rhythm with the contraction-like movements – this is what makes this look like the real deal!

She gets up and looks down at the egg/eggs and shakes her head. The head shaking or nare wipe after the egg drops signifies the end of labor and in our experience is another behavior to watch for. Right after the head shake she stands up and rolls or positions the egg/eggs with her beak.

After several egg rolls and what appears to be a deepening egg cup overnight and the early morning hours, we were finally given a very discrete glimpse of both eggs around 8:05 Central time. Congratulations to DNF and Mr. North!!

Thanks to Meryl, an Explore.org viewer who was also viewing cropping and posting a photo of the second egg as we were working up our confirmation shot!”

Why did the egg-laying happen so quickly? We’ve seen this before in inclement weather. In 2014 – a very similar winter in terms of snow and cold – Mom Decorah laid her second egg in a windchill of -50F. She was up for the briefest amount of time possible to push the egg out before laying back down on it.