Welcome to the world, D13!
March 25, 2021: DN13 and Dad
Welcome to DN13 at the Decorah North Nest and congratulations to Mr. North and DNF, even though their beautiful and very deep egg cup managed to obscure our views! We called the hatch time at 7:21AM CT when we saw a ‘wing wave’ from the new hatchling and we got a better glimpse of the little bobblehead with Mr. North at about 10:01AM CT. Hatch watch starts tomorrow for egg two.
Researchers in the 1960’s and 1970’s studied eagle populations in Canada and the northern United States. As hard as it is to believe now, bald eagles had disappeared from most of their range in the lower 48 and were at risk of going extinct. In northern Canada – one of the Bald Eagle’s last strongholds at the time – eagles that laid eggs in February began incubating them as soon as they were laid, since uncovered eggs would die in the northern cold. This resulted in asynchronous hatching: eggs that hatched days instead of minutes or hours apart. But climate, weather, and eagle populations have changed and we’re watching eagles at a lower latitude. If the weather is warm enough – in Iowa, in February – eagle parents delay incubation, leading to eggs that hatch closer together.
Our nest records show a strong correlation between February temperatures and hatch timing. In warm years, eagles delay incubation and young hatch closer together. In cold years, eagles keep their eggs covered and young hatch further apart. 2020 was terrible in almost every way: still, NE Iowa was pretty warm. DNF’s eggs hatched around 16 hours apart and Mom Decorah’s ‘twins’ hatched just six hours apart – the closest we’ve ever seen hatch! As warm as 2021 as been, DNF laid her eggs in the middle of February’s polar plunge and she and Mr. North kept them covered. We’re looking forward to seeing how that affects hatch timing!
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