I’m looking out my window at the spring rain, which reflects my mood quite well. Today is dreary, yet I remain hopeful for sunny skies and better times ahead. New life lurks just below the thawing soil. Migratory birds are finding our feeders. Our local goldfinches are turning bright gold, thrilling me with their fierce and beautiful vitality.
What have birds done for me? Every day, they brighten my spirits. They fill me with wonder at their beauty and fascinate me with endless questions about their behavior, intellect, and emotional lives. They help me see myself as part of a much larger world: a lovely and deeply entangled place. We will get through this. It will get better.
The Raptor Resource Project wishes you and your family ongoing health and safety. We hope the familiar – but always fascinating – comfort of our birds are helping to lift your spirits, too.
Thank you for watching, caring, learning, and sharing with us! We are here for everyone staying home and if you are looking for something to do with your family and/or students, check out https://www.raptorresource.education for lesson plans, a link to our Pinterest learning board, and video libraries that capture the very best of the birds we watch.
March 19, 2020: Talons and eggs in Decorah
March 19, 2020: Mom’s quick PS, a look at the eggs – https://youtu.be/ogfRnbQq9HQ. Rain, rain go away! We can’t bring Mom an umbrella, but we’d sure like to reach in with a nice warm towel to pat her dry! Rain pools on Mom’s back as she flattens herself, extending her wings slightly to form a lovely Mombrella over her eggs. She takes a quick PS break beginning around 38 seconds, giving us a nice look at her eggs. A quick shake-off, a quick stretch, and a quick PS, and she is back over the eggs just 27 seconds later. Mom will always be SuperMom to us!
March 19, 2020: DM2 has brunch streamside, mystery meat – https://youtu.be/mci2Ru5RAhA. DM2 finds what looks like the very well-chewed carcass of a deer and takes a few more bites! We saw a carcass back on December 24 of 2019. It was pretty fresh at the time. This is just a little downstream of that location, so possibly the carcass was hidden under ice and snow before melt happened, shifting what was left of it downstream. This is a nice protein source for the eagles: unlikely to have been killed by lead shot at this particular location, preserved (somewhat) by the cold, and no work or risk to procure! He does keep looking around, perhaps watching for other eagles who want to join his buffet!
March 17, 2020: Mom balances on a treetop and brings grasses to the nest – https://youtu.be/BTXf6WzRp6g. After a brief glimpse of Mom flying off her new perch and DM2 in the nest, we return to the maple just in time to see Mom stick a beautiful and difficult landing! She balances on a thin branch at the very top of the maple, reminding us that eagles are quite light, despite their large size. She stays perched, sometimes struggling on her balance beam, until she flies off at 2:41. At 4:00, we see her feaking her beak and nibbling on a little something in a tree. At 7:36 we see her soaring away from the pasture. She has a present for DM2 from Nest Depot – a nice talonful of grass, which she delivers at 10:03.
March 16, 2020: Sometimes you just have to be a acrobat to get a stick! – https://youtu.be/P-mP0L8u7aY. This is an extremely cool video! The camera zooms in on Mom, who is pruning tree branches near a favorite perch on the Skywalk. We’ve seen Mom and DM2 remove small branches from favorite perches before: the branches block sightlines and flight patterns if they get too big. At 2:36, she flies out and snags yet another branch on the same tree (slow it down to see it). So today’s nibbled sticks might be discarded (as we see early on in this video), or slowly whittled away until they are ready for forcible breaking. Instinct alone, or instinct + experience?
Decorah North Eagles
March 19, 2020: DNF at Decorah North
March 18, 2020: Oops!, a peek at the eggs and DNF Feather Close-ups – https://youtu.be/opRmS6xHPXY. Mr. North gets up and begins flying out as DNF flies in with nesting material, causing a mid-air collision at the busy eagleport. He flies out to the pasure tree and she settles in for his shift, rolling and arranging the eggs as she settles over them. Don’t miss the close-ups! My favorite starts around 2:35, when we get an extraordinary look beneath her wings, which she’s folded up into an umbrella to protect her eggs. Her tightly overlapping feathers shed water as well as any raincoat and the position of her wings helps control her temperature. Need to air out? Open the flap. Need to stay warm? Close it! Did I say I had a favorite part? Every part of this video is amazing! Do not miss 12:17!