We have your Monday night Nestflix! It seems like everybirdie on the Flyway was celebrating Thanksgiving last week, while we were very thankful to get several glimpses of Mom and DM2 at and around the hatchery! I enjoyed all of these videos, but I especially liked the three-eagle chase, night time check-in, and close-ups of Mr. North at the North nest, Mom eating breakfish at N1, and three very different groups of birds – bald eagles, American white pelicans, and tundra swans – on the Flyway.
As always, a thousand thanks to our camera operators, our video makers, and to all of you for watching, sharing, learning, and especially for caring! We hope you enjoy these videos as much as we did and we look forward to seeing you for our Giving Tuesday fundraiser tomorrow!
November 28, 2021: Mr. North stands sentinel while Mom eats breakfish at N1
November 29, 2021: Mom on M2 & fishing – https://youtu.be/mkvQImSc0nE. We get a nice long look at Mom until she flies off at 3:26 and catches a fish in the hatchery pond.
November 28, 2021: Mom with fish on N1, DM2 on pasture branch – https://youtu.be/0Tjaca_QGcg. It’s a great deal of fun to see Mom eating on N1, even though it doesn’t look like the eagles have done much with it. DM2 keeps a watchful eye from the pasture branch, while Red grazes off in the distance. Look for Mom on the Y-branch at 6:40 and 8:21, and a really nice look at DM2 on the pasture branch at 8:52.
November 27, 2021: Early morning singing! They flew off together – https://youtu.be/JFARgozx28A. Unfortunately, Mom and DM2 are a little too far away for us to hear. But it’s fun to see them vocalize together after DM2 perches next to her on a branch at 1:29.
Decorah North Eagles
November 28, 2021: Mr. North
November 29, 2021: Mr. North brought food and DNF chases another eagle – https://youtu.be/k_YzPicobSI. This is a cool video! We see a very quick tail chase repeated in slow motion at 19 seconds as DNF chases another eagle and Mr. North flies into the nest with food. I have to wonder how the chase started! Did a strange eagle begin chasing Mr. North or was DNF chasing him first? However it began, Mr. North did not feel like sharing! Shortly after DNF begins begging for food, he flies out to eat his prize on a nearby branch.
November 28, 2021: The evening check-in at the nest – https://youtu.be/qviUjugFy-0. I miss one day of nestorations and it looks like they’ve redone the whole place! Another layer of sticks has been piled up and soft grass is expertly spread across the nest bowl. It’s a pleasure to watch the two work together in the twilight gloaming.
November 28, 2021: Early morning closeups – https://youtu.be/i5d1_JTWjOU. Watch the whole video or go straight to 4:11 for a series of really lovely close-ups. We see Mr. North’s eyes, vibrant beak, and rimal feathers before the camera operators move back and he begins spreading soft grass across the floor of the nest bowl. We get another really nice series of closeups beginning at around 10:48 as he responds to the neighborhood crow watch. He’s not on high alert, but he is wary about whatever the crows – and possibly the distant dog – are responding to.
November 27, 2021: DNF chases subadult – https://youtu.be/GbV9uWHXImI. This video opens with a lovely close-up of DNF. We hear some distant vocalizing and she flies off to chase a subadult.
I would love to know why some eagles are considered a threat, while others are accepted, if not exactly welcome – especially since adult eagles tend to be somewhat tolerant of subadults and juveniles on their territory. Given all of the vocalizing, I have to think that this particular eagle might have made an unwelcome play for Mr. North’s lunch!
November 27, 2021: DNF breaks a stick – https://youtu.be/OCguUyJYMPk. DNF harvests a stick and brings it into the nest. Switch to slow motion at about 14 seconds (click the little cog at bottom right to see your options) and watch how she sights the stick in, flies over it, grasps it with her powerful talons, and whirls it around to snap it! Once she gets her very wonky prize to the nest, she spends some time getting it into place, maneuvering it around another stick that doesn’t want to coordinate with her efforts!
November 29, 2021: A sandhill crane on the Flyway. Ice is beginning to form in shallow water on the edges of sandbars, but the main channel isn’t anywhere near freezing yet.
November 28, 2021: Tundra swans – https://youtu.be/ctyC9YFupXw. This watchful adult and three juveniles gives us a great look at one of those sometimes hard-to-define tundra swan ID points: a tundra’s eye appears almost separate from its bill, as we see in this video. What a beautiful sight!
November 27, 2021: A lot of pelicans – https://youtu.be/B92W2h0KBHc. A pod of pelicans preens and forages in shallow water. I am always amazed to see them here this time of the year, since I think of them as warm weather birds. But while pelicans many migrate early, stragglers have been seen on open water as late as mid-December. I’m curious to see how late we see them here, especially as the river empties out and the ice starts to take over.
November 26, 2021: A lot of eagles – https://youtu.be/ogL3U3m9mJs. Who ends up with the wishbone? Bald eagle Thanksgiving can be complicated! We watch bald eagles on their nesting grounds and tend to think of them as loners. But winter survival for non-territorial eagles relies on communal roosting and food flocking. There is plenty of food and hunting habitat on Lake Onalaska, but why go the work – and risk! of hunting alone when you can steal from someone else?