Summer is coming to a close! D34 and D35 have left home – possibly for good! – but D36 returned to beg a few more meals from Mom and DM2. Meanwhile, things are getting busy on the Flyway as animals begin preparing for winter. Everyone is feeding up in preparation for migration or a long hibernation beneath ice and snow. It has been great fun to watch activities at Decorah and the Flyway. I hope you enjoy these videos as much as we did!
August 23, 2020: A short video of D36 calling out this morning! – https://youtu.be/uaerehXk73g. Some of us wake to alarm clocks. Some of us wake to roosters. And some of us wake to eagles calling for breakfast!
August 22, 2020: D36 flyaround, to pole, parental fishing lessons – https://youtu.be/AwMFxknOI-k. It’s rainy and windy, so the camera is shaking a little bit. D36 takes his favorite pole position. He takes off at 12:14 and makes a few passes at the pond. A P comes in at 12:59 and does the same. At 14:02, we see a P perched on the maple. A P hunts again at 15:30 and again at 16:12 and 16:43. We hear D36’s hungry squees in the background.
August 21, 2020: 6 pm D36 on pole, tries his luck at fishing, lands in the pond, all good – https://youtu.be/MUg28bG6zFQ. D36 is perched on a wire over an electrical pole (note the black insulative covering over the wires that protects eagles and other animals from electrocution). At 8:08, he takes off, but flies back to the pole. At 10:06, he tries fishing the pond, circling over it but not quite dipping his talons into the water. At 10:49, he tries again – and ends up in the pond! Fortunately, eagles can swim. After what looks like a few dazed moments – if you have ever accidentally ended up in very cold water, you will know exactly how this feels! – D36 flies away.
We’ve been surprised by pictures and video of bald eagles swimming, but it isn’t especially surprising that animals who eat so much fish can swim. Bald eagles are fairly light and have long wings that help support them as they paddle through the water. Some of their bones are filled with large air pockets and they have air sacs in addition to lungs – all things that would provide additional buoyancy if they ended up in the water while fishing. It’s worth noting that at least some birds who dive under the water for fish, including penguins, loons, and puffins, don’t have any hollow bones, which makes it easier for these birds to get and stay underwater. If you have ever dived in a dry suit, you have a personal grasp of the mechanics involved!
August 17, 2020: D36 at home, great closeups – https://youtu.be/YTwHVjfx6z8. While D35 is out exploring the world, D36 is back at home! This video gives us some nice close-ups of D36 lying down and taking a break in N2B.
August 21, 2020: Sandie having a bath and a preen – https://youtu.be/rhQ5-KqkzZY. Exactly as the title says – a Sandhill Crane enjoys the water while another forages behind it.