News, nestflix, and itsy-bitsy spiders!

Snow, snow, go away! Mr. North and DNF rode the storm out after six inches of snow fell on the North nest. We’re looking forward to warmer, drier weather for the rest of the week, which should melt the snow fast: a good thing, since we think hatch will start here in about 13 days! In the meantime, we’ve got wonderful close-ups of the two incubating, nice looks at the eggs, date night, and an itsy bitsy spider piggybacking on DNF’s feathers! In Decorah, a male eagle shows up at the Y (DM2 – is that you?) and at Xcel’s Fort St. Vrain plant in Colorado, an egg is destroyed by falling ice, leaving two in the nest.

Thank you so much to our camera operators and video makers for their wonderful footage and to you for watching, sharing, learning, and especially for caring. I hope you enjoyed the videos as much as I did.

Decorah Eagles North
March 15, 2021: Mr. North incubates eggs during the March 15 storm.

March 15, 2021: Mr. North incubates eggs during the March 15 storm

March 15, 2021: Shift Change and Mr. North closeups After all these years, I’m still amazed at what eagles go through for their eggs and young. DNF and Mr. North expertly incubate their eggs through the latest snowstorm as they cope with snow, sleet, drizzle, and wind. While they are more than able to keep their eggs safe and cope with Iowa’s turbulent spring weather, there is still something magnificent and heartbreaking about their devotion.

March 14: Date night! DNF and Mr. North sneak away from the nest for a little couple time! You two better enjoy yourselves now, because you are going to get very busy in about 14 days!

March 13, 2021: Rabbit lunch delivery, good looks at the egg I was beginning to wonder if we were going to see the eggs before the eaglets hatched! Today DNF and our camera operators gave us a very nice look at them while DNF hungrily eagled down some hassenpfeffer! Close-ups start around 4:10.

We often see DNF and Mr. North tucking grass around the eggs to keep them safe from March’s cold, wet weather. But today was warm enough that they didn’t replenish their grass supplies or pull up the covers, which lowered the Great Wall and gave us a nice look at the eggs. It’s hard to believe they were coping with -20F temperatures just one month ago!

March 13, 2021: Itsy bitsy spider The itsy bitsy spider/went up…DNF’s feathers? We’re being treated to a fantastic look at DNF’s beautiful feathers when the camera operator finds a spider on DNF’s feathers at 43 seconds.

What is this spider doing on DNF’s feathers? I don’t know the species, but this looks like a jumping or hunting spider, not a weaver. It might have been basking in the warm sunlight and soaking up UV, which instigates mating behavior in some jumping spiders. Under UV light, female jumpers fluoresce a lovely bright green that males find irresistible. Perhaps it was looking for love in a very unusual place!

Decorah Eagles
March 15, 2021: A male eagle at N1. DM2, is that you?

March 15, 2021: A male eagle at N1. DM2, is that you?

March 15, 2021: 3 pm Eagle on the Y, DM2 – We know that Mom has been making fairly regular appearances on the maple, perhaps to make it clear that this is still her territory, regardless of the new nest’s location! This male eagle looks a lot like DM2, although we didn’t get close enough for a shot of his eyes. Whoever it was, he made a lovely sight against the barn and snowy field!

Xcel Energy Fort St. Vrain Eagles
March 16, 2021: Ma and Pa Jr. on the nest, Fort St. Vrain, Platteville CO

March 16, 2021: Ma and Pa Jr. on the nest, Fort St. Vrain, Platteville CO

March 15, 2021: A damaged egg Ma FSV laid three eggs this year. Unfortunately, one of them cracked after ice fell from a branch overhead and landed on it. Pa Jr. ate the cracked egg, which would not have survived – it was very badly damaged – and settled down to incubate the other two.

Odds and Ends

Jaw-Dropping Fossil Find Contains a Dinosaur Sitting on an Entire Clutch of Eggs: The oviraptor was found sitting on her clutch. Some of the eggs were well developed, which indicates that she was likely tending them. The eggs were in different stages of development, which means that she probably started incubation shortly after laying the first. Also: oviraptor’s name comes from egg thief, because remains were so often found near eggs. I’m not saying that oviraptor never stole eggs, but maybe we should consider them more like Maiasaura, or Mother Dinosaur, a dinosaur that cared for their eggs, given what we know now. So, so cool and so much to learn!

Lights out for migratory birds! This movement is getting a lot of traction this year. Read this op-ed in the Dallas Morning News: or this information for program participants in Chicago: or this initiative in Philadelphia: to name a few! We can make a difference!

Spiders need UV light to feel amorous: Now I just want to set up some UV lights and a camera!