We have your NestFlix! While we are seeing less of D35 and D36 right now, the Flyway is getting busy. Fall migration is much more drawn out than spring migration and some birds are beginning to engage in pre-migration activities, including feeding and gathering in large flocks. At this latitude, bats won’t begin migration and hibernation until cold weather diminishes insect populations, which means the large and very cool cloud of bats in the first Flyway video is probably local – even though we only see them two days in a row.
I liked all of these videos, but I especially enjoyed DM2 bringing in fish to the nest, siblings hanging out, and of course the bats on the Flyway!
August 9, 2020: P circles pond, D follows, 35 & 36 to the nest, P to skywalk – https://youtu.be/MwckrT2XBkg. Outdoor School! We haven’t yet seen D35 or D36 catch fish from the retention pond, but they are certainly interested in it – and they know it tends to mean a chance at breakfish when Mom or DM2 are hunting!
August 6, 2020: DM2 brings fish to the nest, no takers, leaves with it – https://youtu.be/GNZbgmuV5ec. Although we don’t get to see eaglets in this video, I included it because it marks an important moment we see every year – the first time a parent shows up with food and no kids are around to take it.
We were down in Decorah on Thursday morning. D35 and D36 started squeeing for food at around 5:39, chasing both parents as the whole family flew into the hatchery. For about 15 minutes, it seemed like eagles were all over! But D35 and D36 concentrated on Mom, who isn’t doing much feeding right now. They were so focused on her that they missed DM2 catching a fish, even though it happened right in front of them! Given that the parents can’t fly, let alone catch a fish, without the eaglets giving chase, I would think DM2 would be relieved at the chance for a peaceful meal. But he appears surprised or perhaps confused at the lack of attention. Where is everyone?
August 5, 2020: DM2 brings fish to the nest, 36 gets it, the chase is on! – https://youtu.be/EoHEtnVeJTM. Watch the whole video or go to 5:17 to see the chase sequence! D36 gets the fish and mantles over it. D35 arrives for the steal! D36 takes off and D35 pursues. At 13:20, both are briefly in the nest, with D35 still chasing the fish! It looks like D36 kept his prize, although we don’t know that for sure.
August 5, 2020: Siblings hanging out, doing nestorations – https://youtu.be/_OifcatB8d4. Weeds need to be pulled, sticks need moving, and the house needs improvements! D35 and D36 ‘play house’ together, moving materials around the nest and exploring the world with their beaks.
August 5, 2020: Bats over the Mississippi River Flyway – https://youtu.be/nSNLeVzyB7w. This extremely cool video shows bats hunting insects on the Flyway. I was curious whether or not I could ‘hear’ them echolocating with a spectrogram. I could not, but we may look into that in the future! It is a real treat to see them swirling and chasing in hot pursuit of a flurry of night-time insects! While we can’t identify them for sure, the most likely candidate is Myotis lucifugus, or the little brown bat: https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Myotis_lucifugus/.
If you are watching the cam and see a cloud of bats, take a snapshot at Explore.org or upload it to our forum. These bats showed up around 9:15PM on August 4 and August 5, but I can’t find any other record of them. Given the time of year, they are most likely local, but I’m wondering what would bring them to the River for just two days given the abundance of insects we are seeing.
It’s a tradition here to start singing this song when someone mentions bats. I hope you get as much of a kick out of it as we do (although note that bats don’t only roost in caves)! https://youtu.be/Hr-Y2Tt8gFE
August 5, 2020: A Glimpse of the Sunrise and Bald Eagle caught a Turtle – https://youtu.be/ShSypdUreHM. Warning: some viewers might find this video upsetting. The video opens to the beautiful sound of Sandhill Cranes. The camera operator finds an eagle standing and flapping in the water. It manages to walk and wing flap to shore, where we find it has captured a turtle. It was interesting to see an adult eagle use this method of hunting, since I tend to think of them as swooping or diving versus shallow foraging. The Fort St. Vrain eagles eat a lot of turtles and I’ve often wondered how they accomplished it. This video shows the technique.