Did You See? A Sweet Afternoon Feeding!

by Sherri Elliott

The Decorah North nestlings are keeping their parents busy! Today DN11 is 4 days old, and N12 is 3 days old and these kidlets are a hoot to watch. Just hours apart in hatch order these two spitfires are evenly matched … each vying for supremacy, getting stronger and more mobile, alerting to parents movements, beak bonking each other, and popping up as soon as the feather covers are lifted for an impromptu sumo wrestling match … and boy do they eat! 20 feedings of muskrat and fresh fish were served 4-1 from 6:37am to 6:53pm with 13 from their mother DNF, and 7 from Mr. North. Yesterday they ate a total of 18 meals from 6:09am to 7:32pm with 14 from DNF and 4 from Mr. North. This morning they’ve already had 4 breakfasts and it’s only 7:26am!

April 3, 2020: Decorah North Nest

April 3, 2020: Decorah North Nest

The parents dote on their little hatchlings and plump them up at every opportunity, knowing full well there are two benefits … providing sustenance for growth and the ensuing food coma nap afterward. Both parents are pros at mastering beak-sized bitty bites while patiently and precisely rotating their heads to fit the moving targets. Something I look forward to every season is the tandem feeding. Often it is the bucket brigade approach with the female feeding the male a portion which he then gives to the chick, or other times they each focus on a nestling and feed them solo style.

April 3, 2020: Decorah North Nest

April 3, 2020: Decorah North Nest

Mr. North was so anxious for a tandem feed he was salivating waiting for a food bite to be passed! DNF made several attempts to offer a bite, only to change her mind at the last second and decide she’d take care of the feeding. I <3 this family! Look closely at Mr North in the second photo and you’ll see a couple of lighter color chest feathers have made a perfect heart.

My sincere thanks to our DNN Camera Operators who have been tracking the feedings! You are the best!!

Video capture is titled “Nice feeding Did Mr North wants to help or did he really want to get a snack?” While Mr. North does often take advantage of the one bite for you, one bite for me feeding method, I say no … he really did want to help feed: https://youtu.be/_uIO-aTRBs8