We have a Decorah North and Mississippi Flyway Monday mega-roll! At Decorah North, Mr. North tries to eject a large female intruder. I recommend slowing down the video to get a really good look at it. We sometimes chuckle about male eagles being reluctant to approach their larger mates, but the size difference can be quite dangerous at close quarters, as this video makes clear. It’s also fairly unusual to see a male engage a female at close range. We also get great close-ups of Mr. North, DNF, and a subadult eagle. Northern lakes are sealing over with ice and eagles are beginning to migrate south in earnest – which means more traffic on the North Superflyway!
Of course, we’re seeing a lot of traffic on the Mississippi Flyway, too. Late migrators like tundra swans and bald eagles are arriving in number. We’re also seeing northern pintails, some canvasbacks, some sandhill cranes, and of course Canada geese. Don’t miss the great horned owl and bald eagle perched on the same snag – I found the footage fascinating!
As always, thanks to our camera operators for finding such special moments, our video makers for sharing and preserving them, and to you for watching and caring!
Decorah North Eagles
November 3, 2019: Altercation at the North Nest
11/03/19: Mr North fights gentle female intruder – https://youtu.be/KqBwyKkSRlE. The video opens with some nice looks at Mr. North. At 1:19, he is feaking his beak against the ladder branch when he suddenly flies off, vocalizing. We see an eagle chase in front of the North nest and a female flies into the nest. Mr. North comes in after her and collides with her in the nest. He knocks into her a few more times and attempts to drive her off, but she refuses to leave. He hops up on the ladder branch and vocalizes some more before another altercation, in which he again is unable to drive her from the nest. She ignores him and does a little nestoration, moving sticks around. The video concludes with her in the nest while Mr. North objects.
So Mr. North clearly didn’t want this female around. Why didn’t she respond more aggressively to him? He wasn’t that much of a threat and, if there wasn’t another female around, might have been willing to woo her. DNF is fine and was seen at Decorah North today.
11/03/19: Gorgeous Mr. North (and his fishie!) Decorah North Eagles – https://youtu.be/xn69CrnvGx4. Beautiful views of Mr. North, including his face, body, talons, and the fish! Close-ups start around three minutes. He becomes very upset about something towards the end of the video, although you have to watch eaglewhisper’s video (https://youtu.be/dIchh3SYnv4) to learn that it is the intruder!
We get a decent look at the fish around 9:49. A trout is the most likely fish, but I should see spots. I do think I see scales, and I don’t see whiskers. If you think you know, feel welcome to comment!
11/03/19: Sub-adult spends the night – https://youtu.be/bcJW092UPH4. It’s a busy time on the North SuperFlyway right now! A subadult visited (https://youtu.be/vioxZ3wr9lo and https://youtu.be/N1b1XHrTmg0), and Mr. North wasn’t happy about it! However, the subadult didn’t leave (although it didn’t approach the nest) and eventually ended up spending the night! https://youtu.be/bcJW092UPH4. It’s hard to see, but the salt-and-pepper plumage makes me think this is a 3-1/2 year old eagle. I liked the video and really enjoyed hearing cattle lowing in the background.
11/02/19: Morning housework at Decorah North Eagles nest – https://youtu.be/bytr7zFeZx8. Ahhhh – nestorations never end! At the beginning of the video, DNF flies in to do a little housework! She moves a stick, but things don’t really get going until Mr. North arrives! He takes on the Christmas tree for a little bit, although both eagles quickly beging paying attention to something we can’t see. Close-ups begin at 3:50, with both eagles alternately watching their environs and working on the nest. He flies out at around 5:20 and she continues nestorations.
10/31/19: DNF Beautiful closeups – https://youtu.be/soKug-MWzUo. Just what the title says! Fans of DNF will love this video!
I like to compare female eagles at the nests we watch. Like Mom Decorah, DNF has fine dark streaks in her head feathers (not as many, but they are there), a large lore, grey eyeshadow (although not quite Mom’s dramtic smokey-eye), and an area behind her eyes that sometimes looks a little flatter. She tends to appear a little less sleek than her mate, although Mr. North sometimes has bad hair days as well. These kinds of close-up videos are very helpful in establishing ID marks for individual eagles and in categorizing the traits that males and females tend to have, which can help aid in sexing unknown eagles – especially when a direct size comparison isn’t possible.
11/01/19: More Swans-Lots of Eagle Vocals-Beautiful Sunrise – https://youtu.be/8Jlds29_chY. Chickidee says: “It’s another beautiful morning on the flyway. As the cams pan across the lake we see geese and ducks and some swans. The image is out of focus at the beginning of the video. Give it a few seconds it will get better. Due to the pre dawn lighting of the early morning the images are a little grainy. When the cam zooms in for a closer look at the swans, listen to all the eagle vocals. We have some Juvies and subadults flying into the communal dead log to perch. The November sky is aflame by the rising sun’s rays castings of pink and gold hues which turn deep crimson. A great way to start the day! Thanks for watching!” Even if you don’t watch, listen to this video. The vocals are absolutely incredible!
10/31/19: GHO and BE: https://youtu.be/eciOHtriIrU. It’s very early in the morning (around 6am) and very dark. The sky is cloudy, blocking moonlight, the first fingers of dawn, and ambient city light from La Crosse. An adult bald eagle (left) and GHO (right) perch on a snag in the river. At 1:25, the GHO takes off and circles above the eagle before returning to the perch, although it does not strike. I encourage everyone to slow down the video and watch – we can’t see much, but the video effects are pretty cool! The two appear to be holding a stare-off starting at about 2:02 and the owl takes off again at 2:29, which seems to put the eagle on edge. At 2:40, the camera operator finds the owl on a sandbar. It moves a few more times throughout the video, eventually returning to the log perch we first saw it on.
Is this the GHO we’ve periodically seen at Great Spirit Bluff? GHO don’t commonly migrate and they are ferociously protective of their territory. In a study done in 2005, Bennett and Bloom found that female owls had an average home range size of about 180 hectares, or 1.8 square kilometers, although territory size varied widely and owls used territory outside their home range, especially in the absence of young. She has been seen at Lock and Dam 7, which is about 1.7 kilometers from GSB. The Flyway island is about 4.7 kilometers from GSB – well outside a home range, but within a potential area of use. Unfortunately, it was too dark to see a band…but we’ll keep watching!
10/31/19: Eagle & Owl Perch-4 SWANS A’Swimming-Ducks Bobbing – https://youtu.be/q3XaxUW7Quo. This video covers some of the same eagle/owl footage, but includes some footage of northern pintail ducks and tundra swans!