April 16, 2021: NestFlix and news from Decorah North, Great Spirit Bluff, and the Mississippi Flyway!

We have your Friday night/Saturday morning NestFlix! At Decorah North, we have emerging pinfeathers, poop shooting, pellet casting, and Mr. North saving the day! Do not miss the eagles locking talons on the Mississippi Flyway. This is a rare thing to capture on video and shows a rare behavior once thought to be exclusive to courting or mated couples. And congratulations to falcons Newman and Zooey on their first egg at Great Spirit Bluff this year! Happy Fri-yay and super Saturday to all of you!

Decorah North Eagles
April 15: Mr. North saves the day!

April 15: Mr. North saves the day!

April 16, 2021: Mr. North saves the day! https://youtu.be/MNTIqCsiCfQ. Despite their bulging crops, eaglets DN13 and DN14 are always hungry. DN13 finds a bone and tries to eat it, leading to a tug-o-war. DN14 wins, but begins to choke on the bone. Mr. North removes it – first from his eaglet’s mouth and then from the nest. While eagles don’t use human expressions, I think many viewers will recognize the look on his face just before he removes the bone entirely!

April 15, 2021: Pinfeathers, cute close-upshttps://youtu.be/bcBaavudDeg. DN13 is 21 days old and DN14 is 19 days old! The two are growing so rapidly it seems like we can almost see it – and they appear to be waking up larger and grayer than they were the night before. Right now, we can see three successive generations of feathers on their not-so-little gray bodies: the adorable dandelion fluff of their neoptile or natal down, the gray flannel jackets of their mesoptile or thermal down, and their emerging juvenile feathers. Enjoy the view now – it won’t be long until their neoptile down is all gone!

Why do their emerging feathers look like quills or tubes? They are protected by keratin sheaths! Feathers need blood to grow. If the blood supply is cut off or the feather is damaged early in growth, it might not grow properly. The keratin sheaths help protect them in very early and sensitive stages of growth.

April 15, 2021: Pooping, preening togetherhttps://youtu.be/8uBtYhQrJxQ. Because the family that poops together, stays together! Honestly, I had to fight the urge to duck at about 1:58! Bulging crops are one sign of a healthy (which in this case, means big) diet, and profuse pooping is another. I absolutely loved the preening party and do not miss the sweet allopreening at 5:48. As the eaglets grow, they will spend more time enganged in preening and feather care. Adults spend 8-9% of their time caring for their feathers.

April 15, 2021: Sandhill crane visitorshttps://youtu.be/uFCAd3Z7alo. Exactly as the title says! Sandhill cranes forage in the pasture while the eaglets slumber in their gently swaying nest, occasionally popping their heads up to listen to and look at the world around them. A lovely, peaceful video from the North Valley.

April 15, 2021: DN14 casts a pellethttps://youtu.be/cTy5H4O4jVs. Remember when DN14 ate that fish tail a few days ago? We expected it to cast a pellet given the indigestible scales and tail, and it did!

While pellet casting looks alarming, it is a very normal part of an eagle’s life. They squeeze their crops to compress indigestible material into a ball or pellet, which they cough up and out through their mouths. Pellets can include just about anything, especially in generalists like bald eagles: fur, feathers, scales, and even larger bones.

Great Spirit Bluff
April 16, 2021: An egg for Zooey!

April 16, 2021: An egg for Zooey!

April 16, 2021: First egg for Zooey! https://youtu.be/wNhJQ5Y9jMw. Peregrine falcon Zooey laid her first egg at Great Spirit Bluff today between 3:34 and 3:38 PM CDT. We are very happy for Zooey and Newman and looking forward to more eggs in the days to come! Falcons typically don’t begin incubating until the third egg in a four-egg clutch, so don’t worry if you see Zooey off the eggs.

I don’t have information about Zooey in this blog, but you can learn more about Peregrine Falcons in general (and Great Spirit Bluff in particular) here: https://www.raptorresource.org/2021/03/08/peregrine-falcons-great-spirit-bluff-lifestyles-of-the-fast-and-furious/.

Mississippi Flyway
April 15, 2021: Eagles on the Flyway

April 15, 2021: Eagles on the Flyway

April 15, 2021: Two young eagles lock talonshttps://youtu.be/uHCPOHW9h-s. This is an extremely cool look at something very seldom captured on video – a thousand thanks to the camera operator! Two young eagles lock talons and cartwheel. One of them tips the other into the river! Since eagles can float (and swim!), it isn’t a big deal. The eagle quickly recovers and flies away.

April 15, 2021: Eagle taking a bathhttps://youtu.be/PnxI8ruSh54. Preening is an important part of feather care, but so is regular bathing! A stunning young eagle takes a bath, ducking its head, channeling water up over its back and along its wings, and generally appearing to enjoy an invigorating splish-splash!

April 13, 2021: Gadwallhttps://youtu.be/Qa62RU4NMRg. A neat look at a beautiful male Gadwall duck! To learn more about Gadwall, follow this link: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Gadwall/id. The etymology of the word gadwall is not known, but the name has been in use since 1666. Part of its scientific name (Mareca strepera) is derived from streperus, a New Latin word for noisy.