As promised earlier today, we have your nest roundup and Nestflix megaroll from Decorah, Decorah North, Great Spirit Bluff, and the Wisconsin Kestrels! The kestrels are back online and graced us with their first egg on Easter Sunday. I’ll take the Easter American Kestrel over the Easter Bunny any day of the year!
A huge thanks to everyone for all the love you showed during our hatch celebration last Saturday! It was wonderful to gather with you and we deeply appreciate your support for and love of the birds we watch. We hope you enjoy these videos as much as we did!
The Decorah eagles came through Sunday’s Easter snowstorm very well. SuperMom kept everyone warm, dry, and well-fed, although she was coated with snow and ice by the end of the day. Fortunately, the pan-tree was well-stocked for Easter dinner, and all three eaglets got plenty of food! The three seemed to be on their very best behavior for the last feeding of the day, huddling together to stay warm and taking turns with each bite. Despite our concerns, D36 is a scrappy little spitfire who is willing to hop on the beak-bonk train or come in under the radar for a steal and a score! As of right now, D34 is a little over eight days old, D35 is a little under 8 days old, and littlest eaglet D36 is almost five days old.
April 13, 2020: 8 am Feeding – D36 scores! https://youtu.be/Jf1CPWr3h4k. I love that D36 scores, but I also like the really nice look at Mom’s feeding techniques. Although D34 has a real size advantage when it comes to getting food, Mom makes sure that everyone gets some bites! The weather is perhaps a little too cold for serious bonking: the eaglets huddle together for warmth and once again seem to be (mostly) on their best behavior. Compare D34’s culmen/upper mandible with D36’s. The size difference is amazing!
April 12, 2020: A wet and snowy Easter – https://youtu.be/OGJCz-PlYKQ. This clip-show style video shows several feedings, footage of a wet and snowy Mom, downy eaglets in the snow, and DM2 perched near the nest. The eaglets are identified at a couple of points in the video, which gives us an excellent look at the size difference between older and younger eaglets! Also, I think SuperMom deserves a spa day after incubating through the dreaded wintry mix! Snow is less of a challenge than rain, sleet, and snow.
April 12: Mom feeds her triplets in the rain. Everyone eats! https://youtu.be/XX8QVY2HCfw. This is an enjoyable video overall, but I want to point out what happened at around 8:18. D36 appears to have bitten more than it could get down its gullet and begins to choke – a distressing sight, especially given D11’s demise at the North nest. It struggles to expel the bite, whipping its head violently back and forth. Mom notices and begins to step in. D36 manages to expel the bite and Mom immediately picks it up and eats it herself, removing from the egg cup.
DN12 also made it through the storm. While it is sad – I’m still sad, honestly – that DN11 passed, one eaglet is easier to feed and care for. As we saw last year, DN12 is enjoying all of the food and both parents are paying diligent attention to their singlet. DN12 is thirteen days old today and we’re seeking all kinds of second-week physical and developmental features, including the emergence of thermal down, cropzillas, playing ‘house’ by fiddling with and moving nest materials, and ever-improving poop-shooting skills.
April 13, 2020: Fast-growing eaglet – https://youtu.be/_rxNHybTLRw. Wait, where did the little bobblehead go? DN12 is changing into his grey flannel suit and eating big-eaglet bites now, although it still doesn’t think much of the cold, windy weather! It’s really fun to see Mr. North giving a feeding – he is such a good mate and Dad, and DNF doesn’t always want to share feeding duties.
April 12, 2020: Weather changes from rain to snow – https://youtu.be/KRjAsOVYWHY. Let’s just say you weren’t the only one shaking your fist at the screen and asking ‘why now?’ But DNF and Mr. North came through it excellently, although I did want to reach in with a warm, dry towel to wipe the snow of DNF. The North nest is a little less sheltered than the Decorah nest and often bears the brunt of bad weather. Like Mom Decorah, DNF gives it her all to keep her eaglet safe through the storm. I wish I could give her a nice hot mug of fish soup!
April 11, 2020: First lesson in de-feathering – https://youtu.be/jFjNbzkUJlc. Oh DNF – Mr. North is bringing you dinner, not stealing your dinner! Mr. North brings in food while DNF whistles, pleads, and appears to give him a little eagle stinkeye! Close-ups start around 5:35 as DNF covers DN12 with feathers! The little eaglet sits up tall and observes as prepares the meal, closely tracking the movement of her beak in gustatory anticipation before it lays back down. The coot is large and will take some plucking before dinner is ready! How do we know it is a coot? We see some glimpses of its distinctive feet (check 13:59 for one).
Great Spirit Bluff
Nova and Newman had four eggs, but one of them broke this morning as she responded to a threat, most likely from another falcon given her response, the fly-by shadow, and the time of the day. We don’t know which egg broke. If it was the first one, hatch could start later than May 3rd – although given that falcons delay incubation, we sometimes see hatches very close together.
April 13, 2020: One of the eggs broke – https://youtu.be/ayFlfZtX9No.
The female kestrel graced us all with her first egg on April 12: Easter Sunday! We’re looking forward to more eggs soon.
April 12, 2020: 1st egg! https://youtu.be/7nx9cYWCvjw
This nest can be watched live here: https://www.raptorresource.org/birdcams/american-kestrels/ and here: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/cams/american-kestrels/.