Gnasty Gnarly Gnats

Gah! What are we going to do about the gnasty gnarly gnats? The short answer: there isn’t much we can do. We can’t get a permit to go into the nest for gnat control (we checked). Going up to the nest right now would be an extremely risky proposition even if we could, since the eaglets would likely bolt from the nest – a real possibility at 50 days of age or older. Our attempt to ‘save’ the eaglets could easily result in their injury or even death. The eaglets will have a much better chance of fledging successfully if we leave them alone.

It might help to remember that we see some gnats every year, but last year marked the only year that eaglets were stampeded from the nest. We had nothing but rain and running water in 2019, which provided the exact sort of habitat needed for multiple explosive blackfly hatches. This year has been much drier and we’ve seen less impact on our nests. We always check for ectoparasites and bites when we band falcons. Knock on wood, only two falcon nests – Lansing and GSB – seemed to be impacted by flies, while DN12 has already fledged at Decorah North. We remain hopeful that our eaglets will make it to fledge. They are so close!

Note: D32 and D33 abandoned N2B on June 4 last year. They were 58 and 61 days old.