North Nestorations Ramping Up: News and NestFlix from the North Nest

TGI Fri-yay, everyone! We saw a steep ramp up in nestoration activity on the North nest beginning on about January 30, including multiple grass deliveries, fit tests, early egg cup prep, and plenty of protein packing by DNF. If DNF sticks with our February 19 egg prediction, we have just 15 days until she lays egg number one, but she could go a little earlier or a little later than that. Tune in now – we aren’t on egg watch yet, but you don’t want to miss the ‘hayday’ of nest preparation!

I liked all of the videos, but I especially enjoyed the February 2 nestorations and the stick tango on January 30. Thanks so much to our camera operators and video makers for finding such special moments, and to all of you for watching, sharing, learning, and especially for caring. Go eagles!

Decorah North Nest
February 1, 2022: DNF gently nibbles Mr. North's beak.

February 1, 2022: DNF gently nibbles Mr. North’s beak

February 3, 2022: Lunch continues, DNF arrives – The video opens with DNF eating lunch. Mr. North flies in at 54 seconds (listen and look for him in the background) and begins moving materials around the nest. The two start vocalizing at 2:22 when something catches Mr. North’s eagle eye! The dynamic duo must scare whatever it is away, since she resumes eating and he goes back to nestorations. Mr. North gets up at 13:36 and DNF replaces him in the bowl at about 14:28. He flies out with her nestovers at 14:58.

February 3, 2022: Mr. North rests comfortably on a bed of soft grass. Sunlight warms him from above and grass keeps him cozy below. The two have been preparing the nest bowl for months. It's time to fill it!

February 3, 2022: DNF rests comfortably on a bed of soft grass. 

February 2, 2022: Nest material delivery, fit test, getting comfy Mr. North drops into the nest with a talonful of grass at 1:00. The two spread it around the nest as they stand side-by-side, with Mr. North sometimes diving under DNF’s feathers. The two don’t always agree about grass placement or division of duties, but they quickly spread the fluffy pile. Mr. North sits down to fine tune the fit at 3:57, scraping to deepen the cup and pulling soft material in to line it. DNF starts her fit test at 8:14, looking so warm and cozy that it makes me want to take a nap (I also love the view under her wings – it is very cool to see the markings where her white tail feathers join her brown covert feathers). Look for some beautiful closeups at the end of the video.

January 3, 2022: DNF packs on the protein! As egg-laying draws near, she'll develop supplemental blood vessels in and around her brood patch, gain water, and become less active.

January 3, 2022: DNF packs on the protein! 

Our guesstimation date for egg number one is February 19, but DNF could go a little earlier or a little later. Watch for copulation and nestorations to ramp up now! Gravid female eagles bloat with water and curtail activity, so we should see more of DNF on and around the nest two or three days before laying starts.

January 30, 2022: Wonky stick discussion The stick ballet starts at 36 seconds. Watch out, Mr. North – DNF is determined to help you!

Odds and Ends

A brood patch is a lot more than bare skin! Learn more about it here:

Bald eagles are flocking to Iowa in the cold weather! I need to get down to Lock and Dam #18 and 19 one of these days:

Do animals laugh? This tab has been open since last May and it is past time for me to share it! Although most of the laughers were mammals, two bird species also vocalized during play:

Do any animals know their grandparents? The laughing article led me to this article and I loved learning more about animal grandparents!