We have a Decorah Eagles/Decorah North Eagles mega-reel for everyone today, including owl intrusions, close-ups of eagles and eggs, nestorations, and shift changes! I loved all of these videos, but especially DM2’s beaksicle, Mr. North’s sticky gift, and glimpses of the eggs. I can’t say that I liked the owl at the North nest, but I was very impressed by the full frontal response from both eagles!
Before we break out the popcorn and beverages, we wanted to talk about the egg cups at both nests. We know a lot of people are worried whether or not the egg cups are big enough to hold two or three eggs. As you can see, the Decorah and Decorah North eagles have been working on nestorations: scraping, digging, and even melting snow away beneath them, and replenishing the nests with grass, husks, and…is that a fur-lined nest in Decorah? While the eagles aren’t truly lining the nest with fur, they have certainly piled the prey next to it. We don’t yet know whether we’ll see three eggs at either nest, but both egg cups are large enough to hold them!
Curious about the owls we’re seeing at the Decorah and Decorah North nests? Blog here: https://www.raptorresource.org/2019/03/01/owls-strigiformes/. Quick face: Like Bald Eagles, Great Horned Owls don’t constantly sit their eggs, even in very cold weather. Eggs in one nest withstood the female’s absence for 20 minutes when she joined her mate to hoot at a neighboring male. The temperature was -13°F/-25°C.
3/1/19: N2B-DM2 Reports For Egg Duty and Adult in Maple – https://youtu.be/9yBykhWfWXE. My favorite thing about this video was the brief but very nice look at the eggs we got after Mom left (14 seconds). The egg cup is clearly larger and well-lined with grasses and husks, and eagle down is abundant (although the cup isn’t lined with it). It was wonderful to see them!
3/1/19: DM2 closeups 1: https://youtu.be/sacQUANOqGU and 2: https://youtu.be/TD1aAaa_gQo. Although DM2 needs a comb in the second video, he is undeniably a handsome eagle (and look at all those prey remains in the nest!). The camera operator gives us wonderful looks at his face and feathers as he incubates the eggs.
2/27/19: Owl attacks Mom – https://youtu.be/jJ-PleQ8eXs. We didn’t see it, we didn’t hear it, and it was only in the frame for about a 10th of a second. What kind of owl was it? I’m thinking it was a GHO based on what we see of it – it appears large even relative to Mom – but it is hard to say for sure. Fortunately, the attack is brief and Mom is an old hand at owls in the night.
2/27/19: 4pm shift chance, a look at the eggs – https://youtu.be/qflpq5uqKPk. Wow – DM2 has a beaksicle! He gets off the eggs and the camera switches to a top view, giving us a nice look at the husky insulation Mom and DM2 have piled around the egg cup and the eggs nestled within it. He stands over the eggs for a bit and flies off. Mom comes in for her shift not long afterwards!
2/27/19: Mom leaves the nest and a blue jay visits – https://youtu.be/qirh7MXOz2c. The video opens with a nice view of Mom on the nest. She leaves and we get a great look at both eggs nestled deep inside the egg cup. At 2:54, a blue jay shows up and searches for nestovers quite close to the eggs. It nibbles a little frozen protein before DM2 flies in for his shift about six minutes later.
2/26/19 @ 6:44 PM CT – Mom lays her second egg: https://youtu.be/IvCsl3GudAE. When we first see her, she is laying down – but if you look closely, you can see that she is breathing relatively deeply. She stands up at 1:15 and we can see her contractions. At 7:41, she changes position and puffs up her feathers. Her contractions become stronger. She changes positions again and leans over at around 12:35. The final push starts at about 20 minutes. She has a sharp movement at about 20:45 and appears to come out of her laying trance at around 21:00. We get a nice view of the eggs at 21:37!
Decorah Eagles North
3/01/19: Owl attacks in the night with slo mo’s – https://youtu.be/DU2RCLTxxZQ. Mr. North and DNF are extremely upset about an owl attack, but they successfully defend their nest. While male eagles often perch on a limb above or adjacent to the nest, it is extremely rare to see them fly in. That Mr. North comes to the nest in full defense mode tells us just how upset both eagles were. Time to find another tree, owl – Mr. North and DNF are NOT interested in having you anywhere near the nest.
The brief, blurry, and incomplete glimpse we get of the owl (the video maker marks it) makes me think it is a Barred owl. It looks smaller than a GHO and we’ve seen them in the area before. This two videos also give us a really good look at the owl incident: https://youtu.be/Z-CCSfl9ht4 and https://youtu.be/0uy2ftkyE28.
2/27/19: Mr.N In With Grasses&Flies Off With Nestover Prey – https://youtu.be/UUBlZrWVH3A. Nestorations are never done! Mr. North brings in fresh insulation to replenish the nest, but DNF doesn’t appear to want to get up! He nibbles at a frozen lump by her tail at 1:17. She gets up and spreads a little grass while he grabs some frozen turkey and flies off for a snack. DNF settles back over the eggs.
2/27/19: Morning shift change! https://youtu.be/VgxezKUPJ_0. Look honey, I brought you a stick! Mr. North shows up for morning shift change and brings a sticky gift to DNF, which he places on her back! She clambers out of the deep egg cup and the two vocalize (make sure you have your sound on!). She leaves and he makes himself at home!
2/26/19: Close-ups of the male – https://youtu.be/xKWtJWa8V6Q. I have nothing to say but wow! These are spectacular! We get super-closeups at 6:43 that show us every little bit of detail, including his upper and lower eyelids, nictitating membrane, cere and nares, feathers, and gently accumulating fine snow on his back.