What’s going on around our nests? At Decorah North, DN13 and DN14 are 26 and 24 days old, and growing by leaps and bounds! Remember our post on development in the third week? We’ve seen all of it – rapidly growing eaglets, pinfeathers and tracts of coverts pushing through natal down (squeeee!), expertly synchronized pooping, pellet casting, parent imitation, and – fanfare! – standing on their own two feet! Mr. North has to watch his toes when he’s dropping food off! In Marshall, look for our first turkey vulture egg and Mr. Marshall’s first shift. While turkey vultures are quite unlike bald eagles or peregrine falcons, we think you’ll find some of their behavior quite familiar.
Thanks so much to all of you for watching, sharing, learning, and especially for caring! 🦅
Decorah North Eagles
April 20, 2021: DN13 left, DN14 right
April 20, 2021: DN13 casts a pellet – https://youtu.be/sKTbyY1DSVI. It is DN13’s time to cast a pellet, and what a pellet – or three! – they are. DN13 nibbles on one towards the end, the only way the eaglet has to explore this curious thing it just expelled.
April 18, 2021: Almost at the same time – https://youtu.be/5K_2sreeetU. Watch out below – the synchronized poop shoot team is practicing!
April 18: Extreme closeups, huge crops, tongue views, talon views – https://youtu.be/gvPQ5-ZOfGM. If we get much closer, we’ll be able to see the eaglets’ DNA! Spectacular views include pink little tongues as the eaglets pant to lose heat, fluffy little peruke wigs as they shed natal down from the top of their heads, giant yellow clown clompers, the rapidly vanishing remnants of their egg teeth, and rapidly darkening long talons. It’s hard to believe we still have 50 or more days until they fledge!
April 17, 2021: DN14 is definitely a mini-me when it comes to noise and food – https://youtu.be/idtqLUBRdvI. DN14 is hungry and not afraid to let everyone know it! At 2:30, DNF starts vocalizing as Mr. North flies into the nest with a fish delivery. Both eaglets scramble towards the food as Mr. North gets out of the way for the sake of his toes and talons!
Eaglets imprint on their parents and on one another, learning important behavior as they build on instinct to feed, preen, stay warm, cool down, and play with nesting material. While squeeing for food is instinctively eaglish, it is still a lot of fun to see mini-me DN14 screeing for food…just like Mom DNF does!
April 20, 2021: DN13 standing on its own two feet!
April 16, 2021: My what big feet you have! Oh, and getting feathers too! – https://youtu.be/SGaHcoCyR9w. DN13 is 22 days old and DN14 is 20 days old. Their little dandelion puffs of natal down are vanishing fast! They look like like stars or sparkles against the eaglets’ grey natal down. We can see all three feather types in this video, along with giant yellow clown clompers, beautiful dark eyes, rapidly growing flapdoodles, and a sibling footstool!
Wing chord is an anatomical measurement of a bird’s wing. The measurement is taken from the most prominent point of the wrist joint to the most prominent point of the longest primary feather. When Gary Bortolotti was researching nestling bald eagles, he began taking measurements from the wrist joint to P8 when his eaglets were around 20 days of age – about the time that it began emerging in the wings of male nestlings. This feather emerges significantly earlier in male nestlings, giving us another way to guess at sex. You’ll notice both primaries and secondaries emerging on D13 at about 44 seconds!
Marshall Turkey Vultures
April 18, 2021: We’re working on turkey vulture ID. The female has a more obvious bar (I think of it as an ‘eyebrow) and is a little larger than the male. I’m not sure who this is.
April 19, 2021: Mr. Marshall’s First Shift! – https://youtu.be/ygjLdMCZGI0. Mrs. Marshall laid her first egg at about 10:56 PM on April 18. Although Turkey vultures don’t normally begin full incubation until after the second egg is laid, he had to come check out the egg and take his turn on it. It was really fun to compare his reaction and behavior to that of Mr. North, DM2, Dad, Newman, and other male raptors we watch. While some behaviors are different, others are very similar. I think you’ll see that here!