Videos: Nestoration, stickwork, breakfish!

September 27, 2019: DM2 works on the nestbowl

September 27, 2019: DM2 works on the nestbowl

It’s been a busy couple of days for Mom and DM2! While we are still several months from productive copulation, the shorter days have triggered the onset of nesting behavior. On October 27, we saw DM2 test the nest bowl for the first time. As our followers know, the eagles lay and incubate eggs in very cold weather. The nest bowl underneath the egg cup needs to be loosened to help drain water and prevent the eggs from cracking on a hard, frozen surface. The floor of the egg cup needs to be layered in soft nesting materials to provide maximum insulation from the cold temperatures and hard surface. And the cup itself needs to conform to the shape of the eagles’ bodies to provide a secure bottom for their feathery ‘lids’, sealing the eggs in and the snow and ice out! While eagle Moms do most of the incubating, eagle Dads do most of the nest bowl and egg cup prep, which starts long before laying. This means that smaller Dads can cover and protect even three eggs…and larger Moms have no problem at all. We watched Dad Decorah prep the nest bowl and take it for test runs using his powerful legs and feet to loosen and remove material. It is very heartwarming to watch DM2 do the same!

Sometimes I pick favorite videos, but I don’t really have a favorite here. All of these videos share something beautiful, cool, or interesting about eagle life in late fall. Thanks to our camera operators for finding such special moments, to our video makers for sharing them, to LisaG1967 and Kimberly Accurso for tonight’s pics, and to you for watching and caring!

Decorah Eagles

10/28/19: Back to the skywalk for the night This lovely video was taken at sunset and includes color and IR footage. Mom and DM2 fly from the maple to N2B. DM2 spends a little time in the nest and flies out to perch on the Skywalk. Mom flies in to inspect his work before joining him. The video ends with a nice look at both eagles silhouetted against the darkening sky.

10/28/19: DM2 With Stick,Nice Closeup&Mom Has Fish BreakFast DM2 is lumberjacking! He brings in and places a long, straight stick. Stickcapades follow as he decides another stick needs to be moved so that he can get stick number one placed just right. However hard he tries, he can’t get the stick to lie flat! At 1:46, he is distracted by something – probably Mom – and takes a break from nestorations. We get some really nice close-ups at around 2:09, including a great look at his nictitating membrane at 3:12 (a really great look, since the camera freezes). We also get some nice detail of his eyes, the bristly feathers around his moth, and fine details of his beak and commisure, or ‘beak lips’. At about 3:48, Mom flies in with breakfish. If you slow the video, you can see that she is carrying straight to the wind instead head forward. She tears at it a bit before before wolfing the whole thing down at 5:58.

10/27/19: DM2 arranges, tests nest fit DM2 flies in at about 35 seconds and starts moving soft materials and sticks and fluffing grasses. His test – the first of the year, as far as we know – comes at 7:16. He lies down in the bowl, scrapes with his feet, and tests the fit – compressing and molding the soft materials and loosened substrate to his body.

10/27/19: The gorgeous DM2 and Gorgeous DM2 Closeups – DM2 brings and places a stick before flying over to N1 and the Y-Branch. The following footage is stunning! Handsome DM2, a view of the barn, green and gold grass, fall foliage, and amazing close-ups…these video has everything!