I loved all of tonight’s videos, but I was particularly intrigued by the fourth video down. We’ve speculated about our eagles ‘farming’ sticks, or preparing them for removal and transport to the nest. What would that look like? They might weaken sticks by twisting and pulling them or strip bark from sticks to girdle them. Look at the ninth minute of the video, where DM2 appears to be preparing sticks, and check the 11th minute, where he appears to be caretaking an already-pruned group of sticks. I also loved DNF working on the nestbowl – check out her berm – and the eagles of the Mississippi Flyway! It is wonderful to compare so many eagles in so many places! Thanks as always to our camera operators and video makers for finding and sharing such special moments, and to you for watching, learning, caring, and sharing. Enjoy!
January 6, 2020: Mom and DM2 disagree on stick placement
1/7/20: DM2 tests nest fit, Mom stops by – https://youtu.be/3rd4U-h-o1s. We see DM2 in the nest at about 54 seconds. He moves a very large stick (look at how tall the nest is!), shreds a cornhusk, and makes sure the neighborhood crow watch isn’t signaling real trouble. At 1:46, he works on the nestbowl, scraping and rolling to create a shallow depression and compressing and molding soft materials to build layers of insulation. Mom stops by at 3:24 and the two work side-by-side before Mom flies out. We get another look at the very tall nest at 4:44!
1/6/20: Nestorations, soaring, grass gathering – https://youtu.be/6ea7XMAJzaY. The video opens with DM2 snapping off a stick. He brings it to the nest and places it fairly quickly. At 5:28, the scene cuts to Mom on the Y-Branch. She flies out, soars upstream, and circles back to drop down and pick up some loose grass or hay, which she takes to the nest. You can see a shorter version of Mom’s grass gathering here: https://youtu.be/UWd4VbrNFhk.
1/6/20: Mom and DM2 get testy! https://youtu.be/ZxryVqwGU_8. DM2 flies into the nest with a very large stick! Stick-capades follow as Mom and DM2 appear to disagree about where – or possibly how – sticks go. This video has wonderful scenes of both eagles: look for flapping wings, chesting, and talon work as sticks are placed!
1/5/20: DM2 brings breakfast, takes it to another tree – https://youtu.be/C9Uev7boSFc. We get a nice fly-in from DM2 at 44 seconds. He pauses and looks around before flying out with breakfish at 1:05. The camera operator pans in and we see him rouse before breakfish. After breakfish, DM2 feaks his beak before turning to what looks like a little stick trimming from 8:33 through the 9th minute. He flies to another branch and does a little more trimming, although the tiny twigs aren’t worth carrying to the nest. If you listen VERY closely, you can just hear the neighborhood crow watch cawing before he begins vocalizing at 13:33. Other bird sounds can be heard throughout and the neighborhood crow watch gets a little louder throughout.
Decorah Eagles North
January 7, 2020: Nestwork at Decorah North
1/7/20: Decorah eagles north early morning – https://youtu.be/5wr-qD0X46c. The early bird works on the nest! DNF flies in at two seconds to move fluffy grass, scrape and roll in the nestbowl, and do some very early nestorations under IR light. We get wonderful looks at her throughout, although my favorite probably starts at 3:50 as she pulls soft material in and arranges it. I also liked 5:40 as she changes her position to lie sideways to the mound, pulling more grass in and around her chest to build a berm! The egg-clock is starting to tick…
1/6/20: Early morning activities – https://youtu.be/7Wq-yWj-wz0. Nestorations begin with DNF flying in a stick. Mr. North joins her at about a minute and the two work side by side on the nest until he flies out at 3:41. DNF hops up on the branch and preens a little bit as the rising sun gilds her feathers. Stunning close-ups begin at 9:33. She flies out at 15:22. At 15:33, we see her perched with Mr. North. Slow the video down at 22:46 to see her break off a branch across the field and bring it into the nest!
January 5, 2020: Flyway eagles compete for prey
1/5/20: It is all about survival – https://youtu.be/muSO8pf7J2Q. There is still a little open water in Lake Onalaska on Pool Seven, and bald eagles of all ages have gathered around it to hunt and forage, giving us a great look at how gregarious eagles can be off their territories. Although no one appears to be defending food when the video opens, eagles alternate perching together with competing for perching spots along the edge of the ice. At 4:37, we see an eagle defending what looks like food (probably a fish). This attracts other eagles, who eventually move in despite the first eagle’s mantle. A food fight ensues as eagles seek to steal the prize. An eagle snatches the prize and flies off with it around 8:27 (you’ll need to slow the video down to see it). A few eagles give chase while the rest remain in place.