Winter is back! We have videos from Decorah and Decorah North. Mom and DM2 took the day off, but Mr. North and DNF got busy removing the snow. I especially loved the two videos from Decorah North. If you missed Sherri’s post yesterday, be sure to check out the subadult video. This is a beautiful eagle! I also enjoyed seeing Mr. North slingshot past the North nest as he tore off a branch for delivery to the nest. It isn’t uncommon to see stick prep and removal as the eagles work to keep sightlines and favorite perching spots clean.
Before we get to the videos, Audubon is urging people to sign a petition to support a new bird protection bill that (among other things) defends the migratory bird treaty act. You can learn more about it (and sign it) here: https://www.audubon.org/news/audubon-congress-must-pass-new-bird-protection-bill.
Curious about the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the laws that protect bald and golden eagles? Check out this post at our old blog spot: https://raptorresource.blogspot.com/2016/08/celebrating-centennial-100-years-of.html
Note: we had bonding in Decorah yesterday, although I don’t have video. Tick-tock, egg clock!
January 12, 2020: Mom and DM2 in Decorah
1/11/20: Stick delivery, nestorations, beautiful flights – https://youtu.be/StVUzKiTNGQ. The video opens with Mom working on the nest. She digs in the nest bowl and moves some cornhusks. Don’t dig through the nest, Mom! She alternates working with preening and peering around the nest. She flies out at 6:42 and DM2 flies in. This is a cool sequence: the camera operator tracks her leaving and catches DM2 coming in! Like Mom, he works on the flooring: moving and shredding soft materials and digging in the nest. She joins him at 8:33 (watch him track her as she comes in) and the sticky decisions begin! Mom works on pruning her new stick while DM2 renders a cornhusk. The two work nicely side by side until something captures their attention at 12:32. Both fly out.
Decorah North Eagles
January 13, 2019: Mr. North and DNF at the North Nest
1/13/20: Morning nestorations – https://youtu.be/CgxNX3yv1As. DNF flies into a snowy North nest. She leaves a couple tracks and flies out at 2:25. The camera operator finds them both. Check out 6:10 – we tend to think of adult bald eagles as flashy, but their white heads and dark bodies are difficult to see against the snowy limbs of the spooky tree. Mr. North flies across the pasture and briefly perches on another tree before flying into the nest, while DNF perches on the pasture tree. At 18:04, DNF is working on the nest when Mr. North flies by, tears a branch off the nest tree in flight, circles around, and delivers it to the nest! I recommend slowing down the video to see it. Nestorations continue as both eagles alternately move sticks and dig soft nesting materials out from beneath a blanket of snow.
1/12/20: Gorgeous subadult visits the nest – https://youtu.be/a-ckkefGkwk. Sherri posted about this on our Facebook page but I wanted to include the video in this round-up. The subadult is absolutely stunning and most likely moving into its fourth year, although eagle plumage is so variable it can be hard to tell without being able to check the molting pattern of the wing primaries. It comes into the nest and starts to ‘play house’, moving and shredding cornhusks and sticks (check out the very large stick in the second minute!) before perching and preening on the babysitting branch.
We sometimes get asked if subadults with a lot of white plumage are leucistic. Subadult plumage coloration and patterns vary widely, so I’m not comfortable applying that label to an eagle that isn’t an adult. Even age is a bit of a guess. While there are fairly consistent plumage classes, eagles can skip a class or retain a class for longer than expected. Mark Stalmaster suggested that a subadult’s plumage could help provide concealment from prey and other eagles. Check 13:57 to see how cryptic this subadult appears against the oak tree bark behind it.