We have some great news: Mom’s eye appears to be healing and the Great Spirit Bluff Falcon cliff cam is back! Since we have falcons back at at least two sites – Redbird Bluff in the DeSoto, WI area and Xcel Energy’s Sherco plant near Becker, MN – I recommend watching for Newman! Male peregrine falcons often return before females, which means we are likely to see him before we see Michelle. If you see any falcons, give us an email or message us on Facebook with the date and time – we really appreciate the help!
Mom’s eye is doing better, but DNF’s face looks a little alarming right now. We noticed it on Sunday and we’re not sure whether we are seeing dried prey remains – it won’t be the first time we’ve seen an eagle with a dirty face – or an injury. She’s still flying, eating normally, and working in the North nest and she can open and use both of her eyes. We will monitor her remotely and develop a recovery plan if it becomes necessary.
2/3/2020: Mom’s eye looking great, DM2 joins her on the nest – https://youtu.be/8IbYvUEExi8. Mom joins DM2 on the nest at 6:40, dropping in with a small stick that she is carrying in her beak. Perhaps she snapped it off somewhere? We get a look at her right eye starting at 6:48 and it looks great! She has it fully open and it looks a lot clearer than it did last week. She must be feeling better, since she and DM2 get into a little beaking in the 7th minute! Note that DM2 isn’t trying to move in on Mom’s stick, but rather engaging in a little eagle ‘flirting’ – moving up right next to her, brushing up against her, looming over her, and nibbling just a little bit. Mom could respond by assuming a submissive or receptive position in the nest or on the Skywalk (a favorite bonding perch), or she could ‘get tall’, which she does here, perhaps indicating that she is not interested. She flies out at 8:31 and he flies out at 10:20.
2/3/2020: Teamwork, testiness on the nest – https://youtu.be/KOf91_SgWV8. This video is filled with great close-ups and bird vocalizations – Mom and DM2 are not the only birds active around the nest right now! Look for great close-ups of Mom beginning at 4:43, even better close-ups of both eagles at 8:42, and more close ups of Mom starting at 15:19. I really enjoyed seeing the two of them together. Mom seemed as active and feisty as she’s ever been! Check 22:38 for a dominance display – which seems to follow the general theme of beak nips, nibbling, and eagle ‘flirting’ that we see throughout this video.
2/2/20: DM2 delivers a big stick; closeups, flyoff – https://youtu.be/W-IWmSlw4bg. DM2 is lumberjacking! He flies in with a very large stick – slow down to see the delivery – and the sticky shenanigans begin as he tries to decide where it should go. Here? No. Here? No. How about here? Doesn’t fit! He gets its more or less in place at about 2:12, but disturbs another stick in the process. He goes to move it, but it disturbs another stick! Who made this puzzle, anyways! At about 4:41, the camera zooms in and we get a nice look at DM2 trying to fit all the pieces together! We get a nice overhead view of the nest at 7:00 – those are quite the crib rails! – and even nicer close-ups of DM2 at 7:35. Towards the end of the video, we see that Mom is supervising from the maple!
Decorah Eagles North
2/2/20: SuperBowl with the Norths – https://youtu.be/JoeXqf1PQZE. While humans were tossing the pigskin around, the North eagles were building their own Super Bowl! By Lizzy’s count, Mr. North and DNF arrived with 12 deliveries of sticks and grass during the video. In addition to raising the cribrails, they’ve padded the nestbowl with enough grass and cornhusks for ten eaglets! Make sure to check out Lizzy’s list of video events by clicking ‘Show More’ under the video.
2/2/20: Halftime show with the Norths – https://youtu.be/ovwJAWfLbbM. We see the two perched together on the Love Branch beginning at about 3:33. The two perch side by side with some vocalizations. Note that what we can see of the left side of DNF’s face looks a little dirty, although we can’t really see it well from this vantage. We see it a little better at about 4:57 as she preens. She and Mr. North preen side by side for a while, paying special attention to hard to reach places like backs, under wings, and tails. I really enjoy seeing the two of them like this: relaxed enough that they can engage in a nice long session of personal care as the day ends.
Odds and Ends
Pigeons with tiny backpacks are gathering climate data: https://gizmodo.com/pigeons-with-tiny-backpacks-are-gathering-climate-data-1833207515. This is a story from March of 2019, but I just became aware of it and wanted to share it – I found it extremely interesting! The pigeons are racing homers: an excellent choice for strength, reliability, docility, and of course their homing ability.