February 16, 2021: First egg for Decorah North, on the Confusion Couch in Decorah

Whatta a day, as Sherri Elliott says! DNF laid her first egg today at Decorah North, while the Decorah Eagles kept all of us on the Confusion Couch with a sudden flurry of activity at N2B. Grab the popcorn – it’s time for Nestflix and chill!

Decorah North Eagles
February 16, 2021: Mr. North sees the first egg

February 16, 2021: Mr. North sees the first egg

DNF laid her first egg today at 1:44 PM CT! How many more eggs will she lay? She laid two eggs, three days apart, in 2019 and 2020, but she advanced her schedule from the 21st to the 16th, so we’ll see if she adds a third egg to her laying line-up this year.

February 16, 2021: Mr. North sees the egg for the first timehttps://youtu.be/xsF1i1wPTJU. Mr. North would like a turn at incubation! He flies into the nest as she softly vocalizes. She gets up, although she continues to hover over the egg. He gently nudges her aside and straddles the egg while he makes a few adjustments to the egg cup before settling over the egg. DNF walks up the babysitting branch and stands sentinel before flying off.

While some watchers think that DNF was protesting Mr. North’s incubation takeover, she stood up readily enough. But she didn’t seem especially enthused about moving. Was she sharing the news? Indicating her desire to stay in a nice warm nest? Bonding with Mr. North as he flew in to see their egg for the first time this year? Whatever it is, we see this sort of interaction at almost every bald eagle nest we watch, regardless of eagle couple, latitude, or weather. Year after year, it remains among my favorite moments in nest life.

February 16, 2021 @ 1:44 PM CT: DNF lays her first egg
Watch any of these videos closely and you’ll see her labor contractions. The final push seems to come at 3:51 in first video we posted below – not long before she gets up, rolls her egg, and hovers over it. Look for the sudden sharp push that signals the end of her labor.

Decorah Eagles
February 16, 2021: Mom and DM2 have us all on the Confusion Couch!

February 16, 2021: Mom and DM2 have us all on the Confusion Couch!

We had all but given up hope that Mom and DM2 would return to N2B. But after several days of inactivity, Mom showed up on the maple on February 11, and someone deposited nest material at N2B. Since then, we’ve seen them dig out the nest, bring in more material, perch on the Skywalk and the new maple, and enjoy some fishie al freezie over at N1. Was their seeming change of heart prompted by the water freezing over at their current location? We hope to have a boots-on-the-ground report tomorrow – and meanwhile, we invite all of you to join us on the Confusion Couch!

February 16, 2021: Join the confusion couchhttps://youtu.be/CT9EoNI9hFw. Mom and DM2 remove snow, perch on the Skywalk and Maple, and bring new material into N2B. Have they decided to move back to N2B? Get out the popcorn and join us on the Confusion Couch! Listen to all the birds in the background in the 36th minute: the big thaw has everybirdy excited!

February 15, 2021: Mom snacks on the Y, DM2 arriveshttps://youtu.be/dDydPUbZj5A.

February 15, 2021: Mom and DM2 for N2B for nestorationshttps://youtu.be/V9D-tU8mlIE. As much as I loved seeing them at N2B, their opening duet was my favorite part of this video. I hope they don’t mind the clamouring geese! The polar vortex has frozen some normally open stretches of water, concentrating waterbirds into areas that are still open.

Odds and Ends

Toxic shot regulation: Federal and State Law and Regulation: https://www.raptorresource.org/learning-tools/hunt-and-fish-lead-free/toxic-and-non-toxic-shot-regulation-federal-and-state-by-state/

I’ll feature this separately, but you can get a jump on it now if you like. This article covers state and federal regulations around toxic shot and discusses ways to advocate for non-toxic shot and tackle.