March 11, 2019: News and Video Round-up

As I’m sure most of you know, we lost an egg in Decorah today. We’re getting a lot of questions about how the eagles respond to loss and how they might feel about the broken egg. It’s a complicated question that we plan to write about tomorrow. In the meantime, it was nice to see Mom and DM2 caring for the remaining two eggs – gently turning them, shimmying over them, and covering them on a warm, bright day.

Our video round-up tonight features the Decorah Eagles and the Great Spirit Bluff falcons. Falcons are beginning to come back at all of our sites, which means it is a good time to watch the Great Spirit Bluff cam! We have sticky business, nestorations, and floppy fish fledging in Decorah, and coyotes, breakfeathers, and wailing at Great Spirit Bluff.

We hope you enjoy these videos as much as we did and we thank everyone for watching and sharing with us today. It was wonderful to see all of you following the shock of the broken egg.

Decorah Eagles

3/11/19: DM2 with 2 fish on the Y, beautiful views – DM2 has two fish on the Y in one foot and loses one over the side as he is eating. Great looks at rouse, feaking, and the search for the one that got away.

3/11/19: Broken egg. We have two videos: and Tulsa’s video (the first one) shows the sequence of events from Mom getting up through DM2 coming in. Lady Hawk’s video shows close-up footage of the broken egg and DM2 rolling the two surviving eggs. Viewers may find these videos disturbing.

3/11/2019: Pesky mouse is at it again – Mom startles and mantles after being startled by a mouse! We’re being asked whether she might have stepped on the egg and broke it during her response. We can’t rule it out, but while she lunges forward, she doesn’t appear to ever raise her feet or stumble, something that would have happened had she unexpectedly come down on an egg.

3/10/2019: Snow Covered Mom Calls Out For DM2 – Raise your hand if you are tired of the weather! A snow-covered Mom calls out for DM2 to take her place on the nest. It’s wet, it’s nastly, and she is ready for a break!

3/8/19: DM2 brings in a stick, shift change – Nestorations can be sticky business! Mom is incubating. DM2 flies in with a long, skinny stick, which he brings to the nest after pausing on the Skywalk. Mom leaves and DM2 shimmies over the eggs, framed by sticks.

3/08/19: Mom being silly – Mom grabs a beakful of soft material and holds on to it as she looks around – almost like she picked it up and forgot to put it down.

Great Spirit Bluff

3/10/19: Newman On Cedar Calling – Falcons make three basic noises – wailing, chupping, and kekking. Males and females wail to attract the attention of mates for all sorts of reasons: a ‘get-over here’ call that can mean “I want to copulate”, “where is dinner?” “I’m kind of nervous about what I’m seeing out there and I need you to see it too.” and so on. Chupping is done either for courtship (sweet-talking) or as part of feeding young. Kekking is a warning sound that lets intruders know they are about to be under attack! This is wailing – Newman is letting other falcons know that he is on territory and calling in potential mates. It shouldn’t be long before we know if Michelle will come back for another year!

3/10/19: Newman’s breakfast – Newman eats a male Northern Cardinal. We sometimes find this species in our nestboxes. They are reasonably large and quite flashy/eye-catching, although their tendency to stick under cover might limit their availability. Either way, he makes short work of it!

3/9/19: Two coyotes looking for food – We see coyotes in this area this time of the year. These appear to be scavenging for winter-killed fish and whatever else they can. We know that bald eagles love gizzard shad that have become trapped in the ice and died. Coyotes appear to love them too, and no surprise! A healthy shad can have as much as 25% body fat, and even a dead one will provide a valuable source of protein and fat for very little risk.

3/9/19: Bald eagle flyby – You’ll see it come into view at maybe three seconds from the upper right, although it isn’t easy to see at first. It hits the thermals on the bluff and comes a lot closer to the camera. Nice views and a thoughtful slow-motion at the end give us a great look!