We have spectacular offerings from Decorah and the Flyway tonight. I loved all of these videos, but don’t miss ‘Mom and SA’ and ‘Look at What I am Bringing You Mom!’ Ever wonder what it looks like when an eagle starts a nest? Even if Mom ends up back at N2B, it looks a lot like this: tentative placement of early sticks and eagles spending time in a tree together. At the Flyway, birds are stacking up as they gather at key staging grounds or widen their summer wandering prior to departure. Either way, we’re seeing sandhill cranes, bald eagles, egrets, many kinds of ducks, pelicans, and peregrine falcons. As summer meanders into fall, this cam is a don’t miss…and a great way to sharpen your bird ID skills.
Thanks to our wonderful camera operators for catching such special moments in and around all of the places we watch, to our video makers for sharing them, and to you for watching and caring!
8/13/19: Mom napping – https://youtu.be/caE4Oy2O-DY. We get some lovely views of Mom partially obscured by cottonwood leaves as she perches and dozes: not a full sleep, but perhaps something closer to the unihemispheric slow wave sleep that eagles and other animals are known for. I received a few calls and emails from concerned watchers yesterday. Is Mom OK? She is – and finally getting a little ‘spa time’ as she replaces old feathers with new and grows in feathers that were lost to blackflies and scratching. She’ll look as sleek as she ever has by late October. If you’d like to know more about molt, check out this blog: https://www.raptorresource.org/2019/05/19/what-are-feathers-what-is-molt/.
8/11/19: Mom and SA hanging out a nest – https://youtu.be/RDhXm8pUpiU. “What does it look like when an eagle starts a nest?” we are often asked. Even if Mom ends up back at N2B, it looks a lot like this: tentative placement of early sticks and eagles spending time in a tree together. I hesitate to use words like ‘commitment’ and ‘fitness’, but the subadult is clearly proving both as he pursues a bond with Mom by bringing in sticks, working on a nest (whether or not they use it), and seeming to seek her approval for his activities. We’ll see where all of his activity leads!
8/11/19: Look At What I Am Bringing You Mom! More Sticks!! – https://youtu.be/K2B3in6jB9I. This IR video opens with a still recap of its major highlights: the sub-adult bringing in several sticks to N1. Mom walks in from the Y-Branch (I love her steady, stealthy branch-walking) to find him hard at work! She watches him from several angles before he walks up a branch at 6:18. He flies into a new branch at 7:16 and appears to be surveying the scene before hopping lower at 8:29. At 8:30, he begins working on snapping off a stick. He gets it, flies off, and starts circling around. The camera moves to Mom, who is watching him. He arrives back at the nest at 9:24 with his gift, almost like he is presenting it to her! She inspects it and approves it!
8/12/19: Falcon – https://youtu.be/fdJQG11j_3U. This unbanded adult falcon looks too dark for Newman and (since it’s unbanded) isn’t Michelle. In many species of birds, non-territorial birds wander more than their counterparts with territories and families. This may be a non-territorial bird staging for migration along the Mississippi, or a ‘floater’ – a single adult – out wandering and exploring on a large summer territory. Either way, what a treat to see!
8/10/19: Beautiful Sandhill Cranes on the Mississippi River Flyway cam – https://youtu.be/3G_sMyw6eU8. Absolutely stunning footage of sandhill cranes preening, standing, stalking, and foraging. We don’t hear the cranes, but listen for other birds in the background!
8/10/19: Mississippi River Flyway 8-10-19, Sunset screensaver – https://youtu.be/LU11WxLwNyI. Relax. Breathe deeply. Sink into the river as the setting sun paints everything in blue, rose, purple, and gold.
8/10/19: Adult BE catches dinner, brings it to the perch – https://youtu.be/B__JsHbnEig. The bald eagle is cool, but I really couldn’t get over all of the birds we see in this video! A huge flock of seagulls to takes off more than once, while another huge flock of American white pelicans sits on and near the sandbar. The presence of all of these birds is a great example of the importance of maintaining habitat. Literally millions of birds depend on the Mississippi river for feeding, breeding, staging, and migratory support. Without habitat and clean water, we wouldn’t be watching any of them. Remember when seeing a bald eagle was an amazing event? We nearly lost them once. Let’s not do it again.
8/9/19: Serious preening going on here – https://youtu.be/b2ZkoThFJiM. Having a bad day? Take a nice-time break with this video of a female Mallard preening – followed by a whole preening party at 3:20!
8/9/19: Great egret swallows fish – https://youtu.be/6USVnN6ySiQ. It’s a good-sized fish and the egret has to work to get it into the correct position before swallowing it whole! Did you know: Snowy egrets were an important driver of conservation in the United States. You can read more about that here: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/…/how-two-women-ended-the-d…/.