We’re still waiting for Mom and DM2 to come back from their extended Thanksgiving break, but the North nest has been busy with eagles, owls, coyote, and opossum! Our after dark series features nocturnal wildlife, while Mr. North and DNF are hard at work on their 2021 nestorations during the day! All of these videos are great, but I found Mr. North bringing in a clutch of leaves to be especially fascinating and I watched the owl/opossum video with my fingers over my eyes…just in case! I also enjoyed a chance to compare a Great Horned Owl with an Eastern Screech Owl. As always, thanks to our camera operators for finding such special moments, our video makers for sharing them, and you for watching! Happy Tuesday, everyone!
November 30, 2020: Mr. North at front and DNF at back
Decorah North Eagles
November 29, 2020: Visitors at night: Great Horned Owl and Coyote – https://youtu.be/_OKaveqYBGI. We have another video in our North Nest after dark series! A great horned owl sits in the nest below the North Nest. At 1:00, our camera operator zooms in for a closer look. Note the longer ‘ear’ tufts and bulkier body compared to the eastern screech owl, and the stiff ruff of feathers that allows the owl to change the shape of its face and channel sound to each ear. Hooting starts at 1:57, although we don’t hear a hoot back. We get a front-side view starting around 2:27 as our camera operator zooms in. At 3:08, we see a coyote foraging on what remains of the deer. It is very old and the grass is sparkling with frost.
November 29, 2020: Mr. North brings in leaves – https://youtu.be/uk8I7vT_7_k. At 42 seconds into the video, we see Mr. North across the stream, perched in a tree on a clump of leaves. He grabs a talon full and flies into the nest at 1:13.
Two things: A lot of followers have mentioned how much they like the bond between the two eagles here and I think this video provides a nice example. I’m also fascinated by the leaves – a novel nesting material for our eagles, although leaves are widely used for insulation by other animals. Did the eagles find or dismantle a squirrel nest in search of prey, or collect the leaves on their own? Will they bring in more leaves now that they’ve ‘discovered’ them? Will we see them eating more squirrels if they’ve developed a new way to acquire them? So many questions!
Dr. Louis Lefebvre maintains a document of bird innovations. Eagles are relatively innovative, with nine documented innovations in food choice and nine documented novel ways of foraging. I’m not sure how this would fit, but dismantling a squirrel’s nest, eating the squirrel, and repurposing the leaves for nest material would almost certainly count as an innovation. The document can be found on this page: http://biology.mcgill.ca/faculty/lefebvre/publications.html.
November 29, 2020: North bathing with company – https://youtu.be/IgY-IhF_WTw. DNF takes a splish-splash bath in the stream, dipping her head, channeling water over her feathers, and letting her white tail float on the cold dark water. A subadult eagle flies in to join the pool party at 8:03!
November 30, 2020: A Great Horned Owl at the North Nest
November 29, 2020: The Great Horned Owl meets the Opossum – https://youtu.be/RYgmQDBNo5U. To help you enjoy the video – the GHO doesn’t kill the opossum! We’re treated to a nice long look at the owl perching before it flies off at 2:52. It finds a perch in a snag and begins looking around, focusing on noises at and under our range of hearing. What is it listening to? Among other things, the local opossum is sharing the snag with it! The owl flies out at 5:22 and finds a lower perch while the fearless opossum forages below it. Put headphones on and listen very closely in the 6th minute to hear what might be very distant hooting and perhaps an opossum vocalization!
November 27, 2020: Eastern Screech Owl and GHO – https://youtu.be/ZXA3RthcFTM. This is a really nice look at an elusive little owl – the eastern screech owl! While we don’t get to hear any of its famous vocalizations, we get a beautiful look at its cryptic plumage – compare the plumage to the tree bark next to it – ear tufts (a little smaller and rounder than a GHO’s), and very large eyes. The GHO makes a very brief appearance below the nest at 2:52 into the video – a great hiding spot for a pouncing predator!
An owl’s eyes can account for up to 3% of its entire body weight compared to our .0003%. If our eyes had the same weight ratio as an owls do, a 150 -pound person would have eyes that weighed about 4.5 pounds! You can see beautiful photographs here: https://bit.ly/3mpPpgW. Click on each owl to see which species the eyes belong to!