We have a Decorah and Decorah North mega-roll for everyone tonight! The eaglets are growing like weeds, diving for shade, chowing down on fish and cowghetti, casting pellets, and watching the world around them. The trees are alive with the sounds of birds establishing breeding territories and attracting mates – most of these videos are as fun to hear as they are to watch. I loved all of these videos, but especially Mom’s heraldic pose, D32 swallowing half a fish, the quest for shade, and DN9 squeeing at Canada Geese, casting an impressive pellet or two, and eating cowghetti like a pro! Ever wonder why we call it cowghetti? If you watch this video, you’ll understand!
Thanks to our camera operators for finding special moments, our videomakers for sharing them, and to you for watching with us! Enjoy!
5/06/19: Pinfeather closeups, Mom’s heraldic pose – https://youtu.be/iH2idt7Jo0o. Very cool close-ups of emerging pinfeathers, with a really nice look at keratin sheaths and all three types of plumage (natal down, thermal ‘down’, and emerging feathers) at the beginning of the video. At 3:56, the camera operator pans out and we get an amazing look at Mom standing in heraldic pose, spreading her wings to shade and protect her eaglets. It’s an absolutely magnificent pose by a magnificent female eagle! 5/06/19: Mom arrives, D’s get beaky – https://youtu.be/XSoVlEi2KD4. The eaglets pant, preen, and laze around in the nest under DM2’s watchful eye. Mom flies in at 2:07 with a fresh delivery of grass. DM2 takes off. At 3:11, D32 walks over to DM33 and the two start a bonk battle! D32 quickly submits and the battle subsides. There isn’t any food to fight over and D32 looks more interested in finding shade behind Mom. It’s too hot for extended beaking! 5/05/29: D32 SWALLOWS HALF A FISH – https://youtu.be/VLf61f9d3K0. The tail half, to be exact! Mom gets ready to hand off some food, but DM2 grabs it and eagles it down before she has the chance! Watch starting at about 18 seconds to see the whole thing – an impressive display of eaglet versus food. Most of you probably already know that eagles and other fish eating birds swallow fish head-first, even when there isn’t a head. Why? Swallowed that way, the scales can’t lodge in the bird’s throat and cause the fish to become stuck. 5/05/19: On quest for shade, under Mom’s tailfeathers – https://youtu.be/ukmQrk_loM4. It’s a hot day and Mom provides as much protection as she can from the sun! It won’t be long until the leaves unfurl and give everybirdy a little shade! Watch at 1:24 as Mom raises her tail a couple of times. I think D32 might be tickling her tail feathers as it works its way under Mombrella for a little relief. 5/04/19: DM2 delivers a squirrel – https://youtu.be/iEQJUEf1WiE – and Mom feeds it to the eaglets – https://youtu.be/iEQJUEf1WiE. We get a really great look at and listen to Mom’s teakettle whistle in the first video. DM2 needs to hand over the squirrel and skedaddle, which he does! Mom takes charge of feeding the eaglets some fox squirrel! Check out the footage around 8:10 in the second video for a great comparison between D33 (left) and D32 (right). D32 is just three days older, but has a lot more visible juvenile feathers along its back and wings. At this stage of growth, feather emergence can be very helpful in identifying one eaglet from another…although it won’t last very long! 5/06/19: DN9 Squees at Geese & DNF With Mystery Prey – https://youtu.be/-qbqaxHPMv8. The thunder of Canada Goose wings sounds like the geese are flying right over the nest, and DN9 keeps a very close watch on them! You can hear what sounds like a squee around 24 seconds as DN9 prepares to defend the nest! DNF shows up with the mystery prey at 58 seconds. Enough prep work has been done to make ID tough. Based on the remains in a subsequent video, I’m leaning toward muskrat given what we see of the tail, although the color is a little off. 5/06/19: Mr North takes left over prey – https://youtu.be/OfxaoaxUsBE. Watch the beginning of this video and you’ll see the tail I referred to above! Right tail shape and length for muskrat, but not as dark as one would expect. Whatever it was, Mr. North flies it out of the nest and eats it on a box elder tree stump. Check out 5:24 for a classic view of clown clompers! Surely those big feet can’t belong on this eaglet, even as big as it is! 5/05/19: DN9 casts a pellet under DNF’s watchful eye – https://youtu.be/pDlBindDCCo. When so much food goes in, there are a lot of indigestible materials to come out! Watch the video starting at 58 seconds and pay attention to DN9’s throat as it forces what might be two pellets out! The first can clearly be seen at 1:39. At 1:52, it appears to hang down beside the eaglet, although DN9 is still working on expulsion. DN9 relaxes briefly, but starts expulsion again at 2:19, expelling a pellet at 2:38. Feel welcome to comment on one pellet versus two! 5/04/19: DN9 Close-ups, Wing flaps, and Snite – https://youtu.be/8Pj20Na474M. As much as I liked the close-ups, I loved it when we backed up at 1:08 to see DN9 with a little bling hanging from its head and little nest thieves filching nest materials in the background! We get a nice little wingercizing session, and more close-ups (see its black tongue barbs?). You can hear and see the sneeze at around 1:58 in the video. Very cute! 5/04/19: Early morning and breakfish – https://youtu.be/3dGwuhTq1Ns. This is a long video, but a lovely one – rich in birdsong, cattle calls, and nice views of DN9, a feeding, the North valley, and the North nest. This video can be watched or listened to! 5/04/19: Owl Sounds Close, DNF Alarm Calling & Mr Answers – https://youtu.be/ER3Lg3a2s-E. DNF responds to the owl (a Barred owl) before we hear it at 16 seconds. We hear Mr. North responding in the background, although he doesn’t come to the nest. We don’t hear the owl again, but both eagles continue to sound the alarm. Hear the other birds starting to call toward the end of the video? It’s 5:10 and appears quite dark out, but the eastern horizon is already lightening and the birds are waking up! 5/03/19: DN9’s talons: https://youtu.be/ZTnGnM6dYfU. Wow! Look at those long toes (especially the middle toe) and jet black talons, with just a hint of white at the end! According to work done by Gary Bortolotti, footpads reach nearly adult size at about 40 days (with growth slowing at about 35 days) and mid-toes by about 35 days. DN9 is 33 days old today and its feet are almost done growing. Just a few more days… 5/03/19: A lesson in how to eat cowghetti – https://youtu.be/874_EETn_s4. The video opens with Mr. North and DN9. It is hot and Mr. North and DN9 are both panting. We get some nice looks at both eaglets before Mr. North grabs some cowghetti (placenta) to feed DN9 at 7:48. He laves at about 16:16, but DN9 isn’t done eating despite its swollen crop! DN9 begins to eat the cowghetti, showing expert technique as it pulls, tears, and slurps! As unappetizing as it might look, placenta is rich in nutrients and protein, and a risk-free, almost energy-free meal for the eagles!