Where did our itty-bitty eeeaglets go? It’s been just 16 days since the first hatch at the Decorah nest and 21 days since DN12 hatched at the North North Nest, and in that time we’ve seen the eaglets go from about 3.2 ounces and three inches long to almost a foot long and weighing between four and five pounds! It sometimes seems like we can see them growing as eagle parents pour on the Miracle-Gro, feeding fish after fish after fish into eager eaglet mouths. D34, D35, and D36 are sporting grey flannel jammies as thermal down replaces natal down, and DN12’s pinfeathers are popping in keratin sheaths along its rapidly growing wings.
April 20, 2020: Eaglets at both Decorah nests
In the week to come, punk rawk mohawks will replace fluffy white dandelion heads, black polka-dot feather tracts will sprout on eaglet backs, and 12 tailfeathers will begin emerging from eaglet tailbuds as the eaglets ch-ch-change before our eyes, gaining the skills and equipment they need for life outside the nest! Areas of the brain related to visual acuity, strength, and coordination are lighting up as the eaglets get better at perceiving the world around them, improve their poop shooting, reach for food, play with their rapidly growing footpads and wings, explore their nests, and imprint on their parents and one another. While we miss our cute little bobbleheads, it is a delight to watch the eaglets learn, play, and interact in today’s NestFlix round-up. We hope you enjoy these videos as much as we did!
April 20, 2020: Mom arrives at the nest after flying through a wind storm
April 20, 2020: Mom brings grasses in rough winds – https://youtu.be/WDVGBCXBQOM. Watch the whole video or skip straight to 7:03 and Mom’s arrival. She is carrying a clump of grass and panting heavily. What happened? A squall blew in and SuperMom had to fly through heavy winds to get to her nest. As she recovers and moves over the eaglets to brood and protect them, the wind gets stronger, peaking in the 10th and 11th minutes before it begins to subside. You can see a shorter clip of this footage here: https://youtu.be/83cjLZa1Bag
April 20, 2020: Cropzillas, D36 gets some shots in – https://youtu.be/ZDoM9jx8FH8. Worried about the baby? Even if we don’t see a feeding, you can always trust the cropzilla! D36 is stuffed to the point of flopping forward, while it’s a wonder that D35 (I think) can even stand up! I liked D36 feeling its feisty fierce and peaglets playing ‘house’ (fiddling with nesting materials), preening, warbling, and crop dropping. Look for a well-spattered poopcasso tree at 6:14. The eaglets have clearly improved their poop-shooting skills!
April 20, 2020: Eaglet ultra-close-ups – https://youtu.be/GteNX7t8hyk. It’s cute overload as the eaglets snooze and cuddle beneath Mom’s feathery coverlet. Compare ID features and size differences, count disappearing dandelion fluff, and look for little eaglet earholes…or just enjoy sweet little eaglet faces snoozing in the sunshine!
April 19, 2020: Eaglet escapees – https://youtu.be/f3AbQT4sZsU. “The weather’s nice – let’s make a break for it!” Warm, sunny weather has the eaglets out exploring around N2B and hanging out with Dad DM2. D34 and D35 shuffle around on their tarsi and lay right next to Papa as they explore their world and begin learning what eagles do all day!
April 19, 2020: Tiny talons – https://youtu.be/S1eZa-VUAlM. So cute! Five minutes of tiny footpads flexing and tiny talons turning taupe! If you love eaglet clown clompers, this video is for you.
Decorah Eagles North
April 20, 2020: DN12 watches Mom. Observation is part of eagle learning.
April 20, 2020: Early morning – https://youtu.be/SuOmwJCfSnk. Where did that great gulping grey ginormasaurus come from? I enjoyed the early look at DNF’s frost feathers, but you can skip straight to 18:18 for an incredible look at DN12! Check out its clown clompers and dark talons in the eighteenth minute, the keratin sheaths that are protecting its emerging pinfeathers beginning at 20:33, Mr. North arriving with a fish at 22:44 (this is an excellent example of a male eagle giving up food), and DNF’s tender feeding of a somewhat disinterested and totally stuffed DN12.
Odds and Ends
I started reading theoretical biology texts, which might explain this odds and ends list, especially after a conversation about ‘Survival of the Fittest’ on our Facebook page. We’ll be writing about that later this week.
The Pandemic is not a natural disaster: https://www.newyorker.com/culture/annals-of-inquiry/the-pandemic-is-not-a-natural-disaster. This is a fantastic read that discusses the interconnectedness of our biological lives and asks us to reconsider our understanding of the natural world.
Avian Bedlam: https://read.dukeupress.edu/environmental-humanities/article/9/1/84/8274/Avian-BedlamToward-a-Biosemiosis-of-Troubled. The article explores the forms of interspecies communication through which human caretakers interpret and respond to the internal lives of troubled parrots—internal lives that are marked by troubles ranging from social withdrawal to self-destructive behavior. These interspecies communications include body language, gesture, nonverbal vocalizations, and human-language phrases. Interesting, perplexing, and maddening by turns, this article is well-worth the read.