Videos From Decorah and the Flyway

Get your Wednesday night videos! I love seeing Mom Decorah against the setting sun – she is spectacular! – but do not miss Sandhill Cranes vocalizing together as they work out boundaries and social relationships on their staging grounds.

We’re still getting questions about Mom and the sub-adult. We’ll run through what we do and don’t know again tomorrow. All things in Eagle Time!

Decorah Eagles

8/4/19: Mom, the moon, sunset, and subadult – Goodnight, Mom. Goodnight, subadult. Good night, moon. Goodnight, eagles! Mom against the setting sun, the pale crescent of the moon, the pink and gold of the sky – I can’t tell you how much I love this video.

Mississippi Flyway

8/6/19: Sandhill crane conversations – Tulsa says: “Be sure to have the sound up, vocals start about 3:30 in.” All of the camera footage is lovely: stalking cranes, rippling water, reflected clouds, reflected cranes, and incredible vocals! So what is going on? At about 3:30, the pair of Sandhill cranes we are watching begins to duet after moving towards a sandbar. After an incredible synchronized call and response, they fall silent at around 3:45. At 3:54, one of the Sandhill cranes moves quickly towards the water, followed by its mate. The camera pulls back and we see another Sandhill crane in the background. It begins to call at 4:12, in what sounds like a duet, although we don’t see another crane. It steps into the water at 4:30, followed by another crane at 4:36.

Mated Sandhill cranes and family units migrate together. As pairs gather at Lake Onalaska – a key staging ground – they need to work out boundaries, social relationships, and temporary feeding territories. Pairs of cranes are signaling relationship status and setting boundaries – “Our pair, our patch of feeding ground” – by mutually vocalizing and signaling through neck stretch displays and tall alert postures.

As you watch the Sandhill Cranes at the Flyway (, look for colts (Sandhill young). We’re not seeing many colts, even though families migrate together. Since unsuccessful pairs leave breeding grounds earlier than successful pairs, we suspect that what we’re seeing right now are the heralds of fall migration, stopping to rest and feed up before leaving for the Gulf Coast. #CraneCabana