Today marks our first morning without DN13 and DN14. The two eaglets are turning 131 days old and 129 days old respectively. DN13 fledged 53 days ago and DN14 fledged 46 days ago. While Brett’s study found that eaglet average age at dispersal was 162 days (nearly 85 days after they fledged), we know that eaglets start expanding their travels a month or so after fledge. For example, D25 took a trip up to Wabasha in late July of 2016. She returned to the area on August 6th and wandered through the Decorah area for about another month before dispersing, although she spent very little time in the vicinity of her natal nest. D1 left with almost no warning on August 14, 2011. D27 left the Decorah area on August 19th, 2017, although she did some local wandering before that. Everything we are seeing at the North nest right now looks like standard eaglet behavior based on previous years of observation and study. We still hope to catch a glimpse of DN13 and DN14 on camera now and then, since they would be quite young for dispersal. But in the meantime, we hope Mr. North and DNF enjoy a little alone time. They have earned it!
Decorah North Eagles
August 3, 2021: Beautiful buck having breakfast – https://youtu.be/Dm8kv_l9-eU. The North nest always gives us something to look at! Rut won’t start until later this fall, but we’re beginning to see the precursors now. Look for deer to start grouping and buck necks to start swelling as summer deepens into fall. This video also shows why the North nest has so much hemp and multiflora rose! The buck explores these plants with his sensitive mouth and tongue but – like every other herbivore here – doesn’t appear interested in eating them.
August 2, 2021: Job well done DNF and Mr. North – https://youtu.be/OY_hK9cPN94. DNF is perched on a bare tree limb. She vocalizes as Mr. North flies in. He vocalizes back and the two sit together in the shade, watching their world and vocalizing.
August 1, 2021: DN14 napping with a huge crop – https://youtu.be/gzB9M5eZRvU. DN14 appears to be sleeping off a very large meal on the bark-a-lounger while the camera operator gives us wonderful close-ups of DN14’s body, face, and talons. Was DN14 dreaming? Eagles dream, and DN14 wakes up vocalizing. Sweet eagle dreams, DN14! https://www.raptorresource.org/2020/02/20/sweet-eagle-dreams/
July 29, 2021: Hummingbird Pays a Visit – https://youtu.be/fqCyIjafG9g. How do our camera operators do it? A female ruby-throated hummingbird collects nectar from multiflora rose flowers. Most creatures avoid multiflora rose, which has sharp, curved thorns and flexible branches. But a quick-flying hummingbird can avoid the thorns, the plants are flowering right now, and predators might be less apt to hide within or beneath this pokey plant!
July 31, 2021: A juvenile mallard duck preens in the grass
August 3, 2021: Raccoon versus Sandhill Crane – https://youtu.be/Yr3g1vFG8TM. A hungry young mammal is not interested in a curious and probably also hungry sandhill crane!
July 31, 2021: Ducklings growing up! https://youtu.be/3AbBsss4LbY. This is just lovely! Juvenile Mallard ducklings preen in grass and loosestrife. I especially like seeing the tips of their pinfeathers poking out through their keratin sheaths – something we’ve previously only been able to watch on our eagle and falcon cams. I loved this video!
While precocial mallard ducklings leave their natal nest within 24 to 48 hours of hatch, they can’t fly until their flight feathers grow in. According to Ducks Unlimited, they gain flight at about 55 days. This is an excellent, brief article on young waterfowl: https://www.ducks.org/conservation/waterfowl-research-science/ducklings-and-goslings.