August 26, 2020: Decorah, Decorah North, and the Flyway

We’re getting questions about the eagle maps. We tend to update them two to three times monthly unless something exciting happens. I’ll put up an update the next time we have data. But in the meantime, we have some videos of a very stuffed DM2, a tween-eagle party at Decorah North, hunting eagles on the Flyway, and a few odds and ends prompted by fan emails. We hope you enjoy these videos as much as we did!

Decorah Eagles
August 25, 2020: DM2 with a bulging crop!

August 25, 2020: DM2 with a bulging crop!

August 25, 2020: DM2 visits the Y DM2, what did you eat? Check 5:07 to see DM2’s extremely swollen crop. While we don’t see his fly-in here, he arrived panting – no wonder between the heat and all of the food he’s carrying in his crop!

We tend to ask how much eagles can carry when we see them bring in (or drop) a large stick. But eagles can also carry a fair amount of (well-balanced) food in their crops! For more information, follow this link:

Decorah North Eagles
August 24, 2020: Mr. North, DNF, and a subadult intruder

August 24, 2020: Mr. North, DNF, and a subadult intruder

August 24, 2020: Busy Morning at the Valley of the North’s We know that neither of these visitors were D35 or D36, but we would love to know if we were seeing DN12 or D34! Check Eaglespirit’s notes below the feed for a timeline of events.

An eagle’s reproductive system is dormant this time of the year and juvenile/immature plumage signals ‘probably harmless kid’ to territorial adults. Although we’ve seen parents at both Decorah nests drive juveniles and sub-adults off in late summer, a tolerant if not welcoming attitude is much more common this time of the year – and of course the youngsters are extremely interested in a meal!

August 21, 2020: Decorah North Visitors A turkey vulture and two ospreys visit the valley of the Norths, while this beautiful Baltimore Oriole gleans in the foliage two days later:

Mississippi Flyway
August 25, 2020: Three juvenile eagles on the Flyway

August 25, 2020: Three juvenile eagles on the Flyway

August 26, 2020: Bald eagles successfully hunting a duck The video opens with with what I believe are Caspian terns based on bill size. They are migrating and dispersing from breeding locations around the great lakes and the far north. At 22 seconds, an adult bald eagle begins hunting what I think is a small diving duck based on its behavior at 26 seconds. Another eagle who we briefly see perched on the snag at far left at 31 seconds, swoops in and gets the duck. Their behavior makes me wonder if this is a local pair.

August 25, 2020: Juvie trio on the Flyway Young eagles are dispersing from their nests and congregating in places with rich resources. These juveniles may not yet be good at hunting from the air, but the Mississippi offers plenty of food to eagles who aren’t especially picky about their diets, while congregating offers an opportunity to go in for the steal!

August 24, 2020: Young peregrine falcon What is that chonky brown unbanded bird? While I don’t tend to associate white eyebrows with peregrine falcons, that is a juvenile peregrine falcon based on hood, mallar stripe, body shape and size, and long wings. The white eyebrow is more pronounced than I am used to seeing, but juvenile peregrines can be variable in head patterning, with a brown ‘helmet’ and cream-colored or white traces that vary in size/visibility. The lovely brown color tells us and, more importantly, other peregrines, that this bird is not a threat.

Odds and Ends

What’s up with those red sunsets in Decorah and on the Flyway? Smoke from massive western wildfires is hazing our skies and turning our sunsets red. How far is it spreading? This image from NASA shows atmospheric haze on August 24: Wildfire smoke is causing 33% fewer blue sky days in Minnesota:

Bald eagle attacks woman in Lutsen, MN: We got a lot of questions about this! The bald eagle in question was a juvenile. The Raptor Center and the National Eagle Center suggested that it could have been ill, injured, or accustomed to being fed by humans. The Duluth News Tribune reported that people were stopping their cars, walking up to it, and getting close to it. Whatever the case, this is an excellent reminder to stay away from wild animals, carefully assess the risks if you need to approach them (as for an eagle rescue), and not to feed them. Do click through and check out the rescuer/chef’s jacket – it is destroyed!

Bald eagle takes down drone: “Score one for the eagle!” you wrote. I wish we knew more about the situation. Was the eagle an adult, a sub-adult, or a juvenile? All the pictures I’ve seen show an adult bald eagle, but none of those were taken at the site of the attack. An adult eagle can attack a territorial invader any time of the year, but they are a little less territorial this time of the year and it isn’t clear whether an eagle’s nest was in the area. This time of the year, I think a hungry juvenile might be at least as likely, if not a little more likely, to take a run at an unknown object hovering in the sky. Unfortunately, we don’t really have all of the information we need to understand the encounter.