Do you like eaglet clown clompers? We love them! DN13 and DN14 seem to have gone from little dandelion bobbleheads to great big clown clompers almost over night. Their gray wooly thermal down is coming in, their little wings are sporting feather fringes, and they are flexing their rapidly growing feet and tiny talons. Motoring is limited to crawling, but they manage to explore outside the nest cup and find new places to hike outside the confines of the parental feather comforter. They are tracking their parent’s movements and anticipating the double-digit daily feedings by securing their spots in the chow line, which has recently begun filling with suckerfish. We hope you had as much fun watching today as we did – sweet eagle dreams, everyone!
Decorah North Eagles
Diction-Aerie Word of the Day: Clown Clompers
April 7, 2021: Post-lunch snooze, super closeups – https://youtu.be/qM3Fmo_RfLM. You can see several second-week ch-ch-changes in this video: the eaglets are sprouting their grey thermal down, which is thicker, warmer, and more water resistant than their natal down, their feet and legs are turning yellow, and their clear talons are slowly darkening. Like the babies of so many other species, eaglets don’t ‘inflate’ evenly: different features grow at different rates. Footpads experience rapid growth fairly early on, leading to things like standing, tearing food, wingercizing, and jumping: all skills that eaglets need to acquire before leaving the nest. While we miss our adorable little dandelion bobbleheads, we absolutely love our big grey clown clompers!
April 6, 2021: Cute moment and Mr. North did not want to leave – https://youtu.be/7D5mboOYA0I. The suckers are running and the pan-tree is piled high with fresh fish! Mr. North appears to be trying to tuck his panting eaglets underneath him as he digs in the nest. When DNF arrives, he has no interest in leaving and pretends not to see her. She vocalizes softly but insistently as she moves in closer to the nest, leaving Mr. North no choice but to leave his soft, comfortable bark-a-lounger.
April 6, 2021: North Eaglets getting smacked by a huge floppy sucker fish – https://youtu.be/WAqe3yV9x8w. Sucker fish are spawning on shallow gravel bars, making them an easy target for hungry eagles, raccoon, barred owls, and anything else that hunts fish. Mr. North brings a live one in and it flops around the nest a bit before Mom dispatches it!
This is a flashback post first published on April 26 of 2012. I repost it every year when the eagles begin bringing suckerfish into the nest: https://www.raptorresource.org/2021/04/07/watching-bald-eagles/.
Marshall Turkey Vultures
April 6, 2021: Nest shopping with the Turkey Vultures
April 6, 2021: Nest shopping with the Marshall Turkey Vultures – https://youtu.be/iQyIYLMGAO0. Two Turkey Vultures check out the loft. They hiss, grunt, scrape, and generally appear to approve of the place. We’re hopeful that they will nest here this year!
I’m pretty sure we have the male and female identified correctly, but it isn’t easy! Turkey vultures aren’t sexually dimorphic in plumage or size, but males usually have a bigger, wrinklier brow ridge than their female counterparts. Cross your fingers, toes, and talons for eggs! TV nests are fun (if a bit icky) to watch and egg-laying will confirm sex.