The eaglets at Decorah and Decorah North are all past the halfway point in nest life. They usually fledge at 75 to 80 days, with males often (but not always) fledging first. We see a lot of baby behaviors in the first four to five weeks of nest life: eat, bonk (until about the third week), poop, sleep, repeat. The baby-eees are also exploring the nest and gaining skills, but things don’t really kick into high gear until they begin standing on their feet, which usually happens some time in their fifth week of life! As we write, the tweenagers are rapidly progressing to advanced wingercizing, air-obics, eagle yoga, self-feeding, and tracking events around the nest. They will build balance and coordination by perching on sticks, fiddle with and attack prey items and nest objects, and hone their eagle table manners by stealing, mantling, and defending prey. We miss our adorable little ddd-darlings, but we love watching them gain the skills and behaviors they need for life beyond the nest!
5/18/20: DM2 brings fish, D34’s 1st mantling – https://youtu.be/wORS7D6z-Cc. Look at that! D34 makes its first mantle over a fish after a steal from right underneath Mom’s talons! Prize secured, it procedes to eat the slippery fish. D34 is still honing its carving skills but it eventually gets the trick (start with a gill, get the lower mandible in for more leverage) and enjoys a little fishy al-fresco in the nest. Mom appears to be watching with some interest, at one point stalking around D34 like a dinosaur to take a look at the proceedings. DM2 would be giving up the fish at this point, but Mom can’t quite bring herself to steal if from D34!
5/17/20: D34 has trouble with squirrel leg – https://youtu.be/M3gCKvXX0uI. The video opens with a look at an extremely chonky D36 seemingly using its crop as a headrest. D35 sits in the middle and D34 is standing tall on the left side. It finds some squirrel jerky and decides to swallow it down, as one does. It has some trouble with the long leg bone, which it can’t get down or expel. The eaglet eventually gets the bone all the way down its gullet, but not without what looks like a great deal of trouble and discomfort. D34’s gizzard and strong stomach acids will break, grind, and dissolve the bone for digestion.
5/16/20: Eaglet closeups, Mom brings fish – https://youtu.be/xTloEMTDhWw. Eaglet panting and adorable eaglet faces! Watch the whole video or skip to the close-ups at 5:30.
5/15/20: Mom, D34 comparison, closeups – https://youtu.be/i7yTBeBzPR8. Comparisons start at about 3:00. Check out D34 next to Mom! It is no where near as wide as she is, but seems almost as tall when it stands on its feet. Length is actually measured from the tip of tail, not feet, so D34 is technically still much shorter than Mom. However, if you compare it to D36 – just three days younger! – you can see how much it has filled out.
Decorah North Eagles
5/18/20: A hummingbird paid DNF and DN12 a visit – https://youtu.be/N4kXS7YcUGg. Short and extremely sweet! Look at DN12’s reaction as it tracks the hummingbird in and out of the nest.
5/17/20: DN12 getting stronger – https://youtu.be/bMmE4xQGFzQ. What’s this? The little North Nest Ninja gets a brief bit of air time as it wingercizes in the nest. While it is nowhere near ready to fly, instincts and aerodynamics are kicking in as DN12 practices and builds the coordination and muscle it needs for true flight.
5/17/20: Rainy Day, Morning Close-ups – https://youtu.be/gZCZirXZgqc. DN12 and DNF in the rain at Decorah North. DN12 is almost as tall as Mom DNF and far too big for brooding, but the two stand chest to chest against the weather, rain dripping from their feathers and beaks.
5/16/20: DN12 self feeding, great step in an eaglet’s life! – https://youtu.be/z0wBhgQZ9sU. This was quite a thrill to see! We define self-feeding as the ability to render and eat prey without assistance from a parent – not just snatching bites, but preparing the whole meal! DN12 is clearly hungry, but not enough to take a grody old leg bone from DNF! Instead, it concentrates on the delicious, succulent fish (and don’t miss the extremely funny winger-mantle as DN12 claims it!). DN12’s pull and grasp game is good, but it can’t quite figure out where to start unzipping the fish. It eventually learns the trick of slipping a mandible in to a soft open spot (like the gills), exerting leverage, and grasping and pulling with its feet. Dinner is self-served!