We have your Monday Nestflix movie matinee! Nest work is kicking into high gear at Decorah North as DNF puts everything she has into getting a stick placed just so! We also get to see an opossum and a pileated woodpecker at Decorah North, and cedar waxwings at Great Spirit Bluff. This is a great time of year to watch swans and eagles on the Flyway. How many eagles can you count on Eagle Island? I counted 30 and more seem to be arriving every day!
Thanks so much to our camera operators for finding such beautiful sights, to our video makers for sharing them, and to you for watching, learning, and caring. Happy Monday, everyone!
Decorah North Eagles
October 30, 2021: Mr. North
November 1, 2021: Pileated Woodpecker – https://youtu.be/pTIkLK45mYQ. An adult male pileated woodpecker uses his strong chisel-like beak to root out insects in a dead tree.
October 31, 2021: Halloween nestorations – https://youtu.be/PKh-r2hgClA. Nestorations really take off when Mr. North brings DNF a lovely cornhusk rose at 4:00. He tackles the large stick at 4:48, alternately trying to move it and stripping bark from one end. We have a few jumps and DNF flies in with a stick at 8:22. She moves it all around the nest! Does it go here? Hmmmm – that’s not right! Here? No, not feeling it! She puts her whole body into it at 9:18 and finally gets it up and over the large stick. It clearly belongs on the porch, but she still can’t quite decide on placement. I’m sure I’m not the only watcher who wants to reach in and help her! I also really liked the talon close-up around 11:18.
October 30, 2021: Opossum on his travels – https://youtu.be/5OYzNIsTwiM. I’m always surprised that opossums do well at this latitude, since they don’t hibernate and their skinny naked tails don’t seem well-suited to snow. This opossum is exploring around the deadfall, multiflora rose, thistles, and hemp that grows on the edge of the pasture. We get a really nice look at it towards the end of the video as it roots for multiflora berries in the long grass.
October 30, 2021: Sandhill cranes on the Flyway
October 31, 2021: Swans out flying – https://youtu.be/p2a0PWl4K5Y. It is a great time to see and hear swans on the Flyway! A small group of six swans circles the deep pool on the eastern side of the river as they gain lift. I don’t know whether these are trumpeter or tundra swans, but trumpeter swans need at least 100 yards of open water for their running take-offs!
How do you tell trumpeter and tundra swans apart? We have a blog for that! https://www.raptorresource.org/2020/10/16/what-is-that-bird-a-trumpeter-swan/
October 30, 2021: A whole lotta eagles on “Eagle Island” – https://youtu.be/eF6l4G0Q9Ts. I count 30…how many do you count? In the fall, northern boreal forests and arctic tundras empty out as species burrow, die, hibernate, disappear underneath the ice, or migrate. Bald eagles are among the last raptors to leave the north woods. Why do so many of them stop here on the way to their wintering grounds? Lake Onalaska is brimming with food, and its islands, shallows, and riverbanks have an abundance of trees, snags, and sandbars for resting, hunting, replenishing, or goofing around with other eagles.
What does the northland look like right now? You can get a feel for it on the Explore.org polar bear cam: https://explore.org/livecams/polar-bears/polar-bear-lodge-cam. This is about 420 miles northeast of D27 and D36’s usual summering grounds.
October 30, 2021: Cedar Waxwings at Great Spirit Bluff – https://youtu.be/zpeUncawCwg. Cedar waxwings are one of my favorite birds! I love to walk through the woods and hear their high-pitched trills as they fly around me. They are one of the few North American birds that specialize in eating fruit, which might be why we are seeing them here. The bluff’s cedar trees are bursting with bright blue berries. They are quite dry when compared to a juicy berry like a raspberry or blueberry, which concentrates their energy and nutritional value and makes them an excellent food for migrating birds.
October 25, 2021: Crane super close-up – https://youtu.be/W4LkmrDrxGE. This is spectacularly lovely! We get a wonderful close-up of a crane’s face: its long black beak, deep orange eyes, and the bright red heart-shaped patch of skin on its face.
How do cranes and other migrating birds find food in unfamiliar, rapidly changing habitats? We have more about that here: https://www.raptorresource.org/2021/10/29/four-foraging-stories-from-the-flyway/.
October 27, 2021: A juvenile Northern Goshawk near N1
October 23, 2021: Meteor at 7am – https://youtu.be/Ckhggk1Dizo. Ever see a fireball? This short video gives us a great look at one bursting over the rolling hills to the west of the hatchery. I can almost hear it hiss!
October 11-18, 2021: Visions of Mum Decorah in trees – https://youtu.be/D2dS7xVuRpk. Luceforall writes: “Mum Decorah has been spotted out and about over the days since the camera became operational again, but never at the old nest – she seems to hang around the hatchery and the trees by the bluff (mind you, I am not sure if it’s her we see her in all the clips – one or two may have been DM2 – I cannot tell at a distance). This short video is accompanied by soft instrumental music.”
Odds and Ends
Cooper’s Hawk or Sharp-Shinned Hawk? https://www.raptorresource.org/2020/12/29/raptor-id-coopers-hawk-or-sharp-shinned-hawk/. Our camera operators found a juvenile northern goshawk in N1 a few days ago. How do we identify hawks? How do we tell one species from another? How do we age them? This seemed like a good time to revisit the topic!
Why the World’s Most Ancient Terrain Hasn’t Changed in 2 Million Years: https://www.haaretz.com/archaeology/MAGAZINE-why-the-world-s-most-ancient-terrain-hasn-t-changed-in-2-million-years-1.10214721. A long read that isn’t about birds, but I thought it was very cool!
Pandemic bird-watching created a data boom – and a conundrum: https://www.wired.com/story/pandemic-bird-watching-created-a-data-boom-and-a-conundrum/. With the fall migration now in full swing, this army of avid birders is amassing a wealth of data about how weather, human movements, artificial lights, and city infrastructure can affect birds as they travel.
It’s time to start thinking about presents. If you have someone in your life who loves animals and reading, this book is perfect! On Animals by Susan Orlean: https://datebook.sfchronicle.com/books/review-susan-orleans-essay-collection-on-animals-is-beguiling-observant-and-howlingly-funny