We have your Monday raptor movie matinee! At Decorah North, DNF and Mr. North work the wind, chase off visitors, and copulate! We also get a nice look at some North nest neighbors, including an intrepid foraging skunk and two bucks locking horns over a doe. On the Flyway, two adult eagles lock talons and whirl, separating just before they hit the water. I liked all of these videos, but I especially enjoyed DNF tacking into her nest with a stick, the battling bucks (make sure you have the sound on for that one), and a brief but cool look at eagle locking and whirling. We hope you enjoy these videos as much as we did!
Decorah North Eagles
November 15, 2021: North Nestorations!
November 14, 2021: DNF fights the wind to bring a stick to a snowy nest, joined by Mr. North – https://youtu.be/D7EQG-tMdh4. DNF fights a stiff north wind to bring a stick into the nest on a snowy Sunday morning. It’s a neat look at how eagles use the wind to gain lift – DNF is basically tacking to move forward despite an unfavorable wind. Mr. North joins her and the two work on the nest. Look for DNF to start scraping 3:35, churning her powerful back legs and feet as she digs the foundation for 2022’s egg cup.
November 13, 2021: Foraging skunk – https://youtu.be/hijUIbLhEYc. Mr. Stinky butt takes a stroll! All laughter aside, this is a really enjoyable video. This skunk is getting ready for winter. Although skunks don’t hibernate, they do enter torpor during extreme cold. Their metabolism and breathing both slow and their body temperature drops. Like bears, they rely on stored fat to keep them warm and provide the calories they need to get through the winter. I’m glad to see it is finding plenty of food!
Do you have a problem with Japanese beetles? I have good news for you – skunks eat Japanese beetle larvae! They are omnivores, but they have a strong preference for insect larvae, bees, grasshoppers, and adult beetles.
November 12, 2021: Mr. North chases off a visitor – https://youtu.be/yJbfCY6x5fc. What does the North nest welcome mat say? Go away! More seriously, we’ve seen a lot of eagles in the Valley of the North. The valley, which winds through miles of row-cropped corn and beans, is an oasis of habitat and an easy ride for migrators when the wind is blowing from the right direction. Depending on the time of the year, Mr. North and DNF might accept subadult and juvenile visitors. But adult eagles can be a real threat and Mr. North and DNF are becoming less tolerant of visitors as nesting gets closer. Adult eagles? Go away!
November 11, 2021: First Copulation of the Season – https://youtu.be/5SmEQ-Nv_Ko. DNF is signaling readiness. Mr. North flies in and vocalizes as she continues to let him know she is interested. The two copulate: the first full copulation of the 2021 season and the beginning of a months-long countdown to eggs!
You can’t watch eagles for as long as we have without recognizing a simple fact: eagles have sex, with all that implies. Some thoughts: https://www.raptorresource.org/2020/03/27/musings-place-stories-and-eagle-intelligence/
November 11, 2021: Two White Tailed Deer Bucks battle – https://youtu.be/L_oKGS0hY0E. This is really, really cool. Make sure your sound is on so you can hear the horns clash.
Mississippi River Flyway
November 11, 2021: Two eagles spinning around – https://youtu.be/x4mzYdusmb0. Locking and whirling has been referred to as an eagle’s ‘nuptial flight’, and it can be a part of courtship. But eagles can also lock antagonistically and sometimes appear to lock for fun. In this video, two adult eagles briefly lock and whirl, separating just before they drop into the river.
Here’s an old blog that discusses locking and whirling: https://raptorresource.blogspot.com/2014/02/do-bald-eagles-mate-in-flight.html