It’s time for the latest round-up of treats and tricks from the North nest and the Flyway! Watch them all or skip around – either way, I hope you love them as much as I do! As always, thanks to our wonderful camera operators and video makers for finding and preserving such special moments, and to you for watching, sharing, learning, and especially for caring! It’s a #beautifulworld!
Decorah North Eagles
October 16, 2021: Mr. North and DNF at the North nest
October 21, 2021: Small owl hits the Norths – https://youtu.be/qnusp6YgInA. I only saw one owl, but moderator Glogdog pointed out that there are two at the 2:56 mark. Start by looking to the left at 58 seconds. An owl hits Mr. North, both eagles wake up, and DNF starts vocalizing. Between the wind, the coyotes, DNF, and some distant dogs, it is a regular Halloween soundtrack! At 2:56, we see one owl perched on an oak branch left of DNF and another one perched at upper left. This tiny-but-mighty terror is a northern saw-whet owl! Just as everybody settles down, it strikes DNF at 3:58 before vanishing into the night. Trick or treat!
Cornell describes the Northern Saw-Whet as ‘bursting with attitude’. It must be: this diminutive owl weighs between around 2.3 and 5.3 ounces, and is just 7.1-8.3 inches long – or about 2% of DNF’s weight! You can learn more about it here: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Northern_Saw-whet_Owl/id.
October 21, 2021: Big and small sticks to the nest – https://youtu.be/B8UiCtwIzRc. Wonky sticks knit the nest together, but they aren’t very easy to place. Fortunately, DNF is determined to win the battle of the branches! Mr. North drops in at 7:45 with yet another stick. DNF insists on helping him and eventually takes the stick away and places it herself. Want something done right? Sometimes you need to do it yourself!
How much weight can eagles carry? I suspect the really large stick fell from the branches above the nest, but eagles can carry a surprising amount of weight if the winds are favorable. More here: https://www.raptorresource.org/2019/11/06/how-much-weight-can-a-bald-eagle-carry/.
October 16, 2021: Pair bonding at the North nest – https://youtu.be/CVCRxPq8ePU. Thanks to our always-on cam ops for catching this! Like humans, eagles appear to pair-bond for a number of reasons: procreation, connection, desire, and enjoyment. This is the first pair bonding of the 2021/2022 season! We’re happy for them and hopeful for another great year!
The world is filled with people, although not all of those people are human. Thoughts on our fellow eagle travelers: https://www.raptorresource.org/2020/03/27/musings-place-stories-and-eagle-intelligence/.
October 20, 2021: Bald eagles and sandhill cranes
October 20, 2021: Eagle versus sandhill cranes – https://youtu.be/s2x9qIVe3SA. A sandhill crane must be one of the few birds that can make a bald eagle feel small! But this bold juvenile eagle isn’t going to be chased away very easily!
Remember the velociraptors from ‘Jurassic Park’? Yes, it was a fictional story, but I can’t help but think of them when I see scenes like this one. While dromaeosaurids might not have hunted in packs, tyrannosaurs may have: https://www.businessinsider.com/tyrannosaurs-hunted-in-packs-not-alone-says-new-research-2021-4
October 20, 2021: Foraging raccoon – https://youtu.be/VgXTxW8jPi8. Look at those clever little paws! That careful digging. That twitchy little nose! That black mask and ringed tail! It’s not always easy to like raccoon, especially when foraging brings them into our nests. But I really enjoyed watching this one!
October 20, 2021: Bald eagles and a bath cut short – https://youtu.be/BEr3VNy1Fdk. You can watch the whole video or go to 7:30 to see two subadults and one juvenile eagle dodge an adult eagle. It takes the cherished snag perch, although the juvenile joins it at 10:02. The video concludes with a view of the eagle vs. sandhill cranes footage featured above.
October 20, 2021: Sandhill crane family
October 20, 2021: Crane family – https://youtu.be/nNv4_e_4V3o. A family of cranes forage together: Dad outside, Mom inside, and child in the middle. Adults introduce youngsters to specific routes, stopover sites, and wintering grounds, which they memorize along the way. Young who survive and mate successfully will introduce their own children to these same routes, passing migratory traditions down to the next generation.
Interested in migration? We have four migration stories from four different species here: https://www.raptorresource.org/2021/10/13/four-migration-stories-from-the-flyway/
October 20, 2021: Northern Harrier – https://youtu.be/nB8L-h9zRjo. This long-grass marsh hunter is right at home on the sandbar! Much like an owl, its facial disk channels the sound of concealed mice and voles to its ears, helping it to locate them in tall grass. Learn more about northern harriers here: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Northern_Harrier/overview.