It’s the end of the year Nestflix round-up! Mom and DM2 and DNF and Mr. North are busy working on their nests, chasing away intruders (including squirrels), and bathing in the stream. I enjoyed all of these videos, but especially ‘chilling’ – we get some extremely cool views, ‘close call for two squirrels’ (I’m not entirely sure they got away), bathing buddies, and the north nest highlights. I hope you enjoyed these videos as much as we did!
December 31, 2019: Mom Decorah
12/31/19: Chilling on the last day of the year – https://youtu.be/aTEVGn8tUjQ. Close-ups start at 1:00 and I think watchers will really enjoy the view we get starting in the 10th minute.
12/31/19: Very close call for two squirrels – https://youtu.be/0fQ9o5Dqq9o. Run, squirrels! At about 7 seconds, someone appears to fly into the side of the nest after a squirrel that had jumped down beneath it! DM2 comes in empty-tsloned shortly afterwards, but we hear a flapping sound at 48 seconds, even though DM2 isn’t flapping. Perhaps Mom is still after a squirrel? He flies out at the end.
12/30/19: Stick delivery & placement, adjourn to the maple – https://youtu.be/Jgj6rMccpPM. DM2 puts everything he has into moving a very long stick – spreading his wings slightly, rocking back and forth a little bit, and moving it all around the nest as he tries to get it placed just right. He decides to break off a stick at 3:55, although he ends up using it as a handle to drag the stick again before twisting it off! There are some very fun scenes in this video, but I especially enjoyed the first four minutes. As often happens, I find myself wondering what DM2 is thinking – especially since he really seems to have a vision for this stick!
12/30/19: Nestorations, closeups, beautiful views – https://youtu.be/TgZah4rGacM. The unseasonably warm weather has Mom and DM2 very busy with nestorations. Look for a cool fly-in around 34 seconds as the camera operator pans out and Mom flies in, and at DM2 around 1:20 as he sidles in and back out on a branch. Mom works on the nest, pausing once to look up as Canada geese begin calling. DM2 flies in and starts lumberjacking a huge stick! Mom, wearing a cornhusk flip-flop, steps in to fine-tune placement while DM2 gets busy building a corn-husk palisade. The two work nicely side-by-side until Mom flies up onto the Skywalk to suervise. Check 5:31 for a very cool view of the nest, which is filled with soft, fluffy cornhusks and shredded stalks. The deeper spot almost under DM2’s tail is being prepared to underlie the egg cup.
A lot of work goes into building a nest that can support incubation in sub-zero temperatures. Beginning in early October, Mom and DM2 fill the nest bowl with layers of soft material that insulate eggs and help prevent breakage. They prepare the eventual egg cup spot by digging to loosen the substrate, further reducing the chance of breakage and draining meltwater away from the eggs. DM2 in particular spends time scraping and rolling in the nest, molding the not-so-shallow concavity to his body. By the time Mom and DM2 begin piling the grasses and cornhusks that form the egg cup, they will have been working on the nest – and the egg cup’s spot – for almost four months.
12/28/19: DM2’s Fishy Breakfish – https://youtu.be/VWB6RKczHWg. DM2 is eating a fish when Mom shows up at 14:41. He makes it clear that he doesn’t want to share. Instead of moving over to bump him off the fish, Mom waits patiently. DM2 doesn’t acknowledge her side eye and she eventually flies off (look for a very cool shot at 16:13 and another one at 16:31 that very nicely shows off DM2’s unique ‘neckline’. DM2 continues eating and we get some very nice close-ups at 21:36.
Decorah Eagles North
December 26, 2019: Mr. North and DNF
12/30/19: Bathing Buddies (DNF and Subadult) – https://youtu.be/dsmo5yZc2K8. DNF bathes in the stream and a visiting subadult briefly jumps in and also perches near DNF after she perches to dry off. This is a very cool video – be sure to click ‘show more’ underneath the video for a list of events. It’s extremely cool to see DNF’s white tail feathers float on dark water and her acceptance of the sub-adult gives us yet another example of eagle social dynamics. Why doesn’t DNF just chase it away? she doesn’t have eggs or young, so it isn’t a threat to her offspring. It’s a sub-adult, so it isn’t a threat to her pair bond. And she doesn’t have food, so it isn’t trying to steal from her. Chasing it away would presumably be more work and risk than reward. I did find the mutual vocalizations in the 15th minute to be very interesting. The subadult wasn’t worth chasing, but Mr. North and DNF still might be displaying – and vocalizing – their annoyance at intruders on the territory.
12/30/19: Testing Nest Cup, Nest Work & Duel Fly Off – https://youtu.be/wtJkJDmlJWM. The video opens with Mr. North laying in the nestbowl, which is filled with grass and shredded husks. We see a higher percentage of grass here, since Nest Depot’s husk section isn’t quite as conveniently located as it is in Decorah! He gets up from his comfy spot and spends time peering at something we can’t see across the field. DNF? Another intruding eagle? Whatever it is, he doesn’t really return to nestorations until DNF flies in at 4:10. The two work on the nest for a little bit, although DM2 seems to remain a little wary. Both eagles fly out towards the North at the end of the video.
12/29/19: Morning highlights – https://youtu.be/bPG3y9A-GJA. DNF and Mr. North visit the nest, stream bank, and pasture. Also included are mice, a hawk, and European Starlings. Be sure to click ‘show more’ for a list of events and visitors!
12/29/19: DNF visit to the nest – https://youtu.be/Ww7xU88PIqE. A beautiful look at the North nest – how odd to see it without snow in late December! – and wonderful close-ups of DNF as she preens!