Can you say brrrrrrrr? Decorah, like most of the Upper Midwest, is in for an extended cold spell! Our eagles aren’t quite as active during periods of extreme cold, which helps them conserve energy and stay warm through days of sub zero and near-zero temperatures. We’ve written quite a bit about eagles and cold weather. If you’d like to learn more about how they survive and even thrive in cold weather, follow this link: https://www.raptorresource.org/2019/01/17/flashback-blog-how-do-eagles-stay-warm-in-cold-weather/
Decorah North Eagles
February 8, 2021 @ 10:30am: DNF tests nest fit, arranges wonky stick – https://youtu.be/6ZwmEOMcosc. DNF flies into a snowy nest. She nibbles on some frozen food before settling in, removing snow with her powerful legs, and testing the nest fit with wings and tail held high! At 2:42, she works on a wonky stick, snipping and breaking pieces off as she tries to place it! Here? No. Here? Not quite! She finally maneuvers it into place at 6:52 before testing the nest bowl again at 8:06. She chooses a slightly different spot but churns her legs in the same place, reflecting the work it takes to loosen the frozen substrate.
February 6, 2021 @ 1:30pm: Food delivery by Mr North, DNF catches prey – https://youtu.be/kkW-1zF0RA4. Mr. North flies into the nest with DNF in hot pursuit! She steals his lunch by pushing and grabbing it out from underneath him. Ever the faithful mate, he protests just a little bit before flying off: perhaps to pursue prey while DNF is distracted! We get really nice close-ups starting at about 2:55. I’m not at all sure what she is eating – perhaps Mr. North brought only part of the carcass into the nest! – but we see her pull out and gobble down a paw of some sort starting at 4:47. DNF is clearly a ‘5+’ when it comes to whittling meat from bone.
Look for Mr. North to bring in a stick at around 10:50 (I love the floating effect!), as DNF continues eating. She must still be hungry, since we see her fly out into the field and catch a rodent – perhaps a mouse or a vole – from underneath the snow at 16:25. It’s not my idea of dessert, but she seems quite happy with it!
Decorah North Neighbors
February 6, 2021: Beautiful cardinals brunching – https://youtu.be/s9D366PUW9E. Who are the people in your neighborhood? DNF and Mr. North have a lot of neighbors, including these lovely male northern cardinals! The birds are wearing their warmest down jackets as they fluff up their feathers to trap air next to their bodies, which helps keep them warm even in subzero temperatures. I believe they are feasting on stickseed, a plant that makes many of us groan and curse when we try to remove its tiny seeds from our stocks, pant legs, and jackets! The slopes of the North nest sometimes seem like a horticultural experiment in things that stick, clutch, scratch, and pierce, but the thistles and stick seed provide abundant food for wintering and migratory birds. To see a longer version of this video, check out https://youtu.be/LTLpGBbiglA.