It’s been a fascinating few days at our nests! Peaglets DN15 and DN16 are both growing rapidly under their parents’ expert care and feeding, which includes fish tenders, cowghetti, and a slippery eyeball treat! Mrs. Goose is currently incubating five eggs and our falcons are just getting going, with eggs at Dairyland Power Alma and Great River Energy the last time I checked. I’m looking forward to seeing whether falcon Zooey’s schedule advances this year: she won Newman’s rose last year and appears to have kept it!
I loved all of the videos below, but I especially enjoyed watching winner winner eyeball dinner, breakfish for the tiny two, and the lovely footage of Mrs. Goose on the nest. We invite you to join our hatch celebration this Saturday: we’ll be fundraising to support our camera and field work, and celebrating the eagles with special chats and new quizzes!
Decorah North Eagles
March 30, 2022: I’m not sure who DNF is feeding, but I loved the tender moment between parent and eaglet.
March 30, 2022: Breakfast for the tiny two – https://youtu.be/iU-fH3nudS0. Cute overload and an excellent look at how quickly eaglets grow! Mr. North carefully preps breakfish to feed his hungry eaglets. DN15 is almost four days old – strong and coordinated enough to lunge at food instead of waiting for it. Look closely and you’ll see a tiny crop/snack pack on the little peaglets. Remember, they started out at about 3.2 ounces and are gaining a little over 2 ounces a day. It doesn’t much to make a cropzilla when the eaglets are this tiny! Each one will weigh roughly a pound by the time they are seven days old.
An eyeball? Absolutely! Nothing goes to waste in an eagle’s nest.
March 29, 2022: Winner, winner eyeball dinner! https://youtu.be/KF7_Nbq-G1w. DNF offers the terrific two a fish eye for dinner on March 29 – the second one of the 2022 season. The eaglets fumble the slippery treat several times before DN15 wins the eyeball prize! Thanks so much to Sherri Elliott and Robin Brumm for bringing it to our attention, and to Sherri for the image!
Eyeballs? Yes! Eagles eat (almost) everything and nothing goes to waste in an eagle’s nest. An eye is relatively digestible and slides down easily, unlike scales, fur, and bone. Undigestible material is squeezed together to form a pellet that is expelled through an eagle’s mouth. DNF and Mr. North are still feeding their eaglets small, mostly digestible bites, but that will change in the weeks to come. An eyeball marks one milestone – we know to look for it! – and casting a pellet will mark another.
March 29, 2022: Subadult flies over DNF; Mr. gives chase – https://youtu.be/CCpYd4fXFYI. Bald eagles can be fairly tolerant of juvenile and subadult eagles on their territories – but not when they have hatchlings in the nest! We hear something land up above DNF as she starts loudly sounding the alarm. Slow down the video at about 25 seconds to see Mr. North chase the intruder away as DNF covers their young.
Decorah Eagles and Canada Geese
Mother Goose went into full incubation after laying her fourth egg on March 28, which means we expect hatch to begin on or around April 25. She laid a fifth egg on March 30 and we’ll post or share a video as soon as we have one, but in the meantime, we hope you enjoy the videos below!
March 30, 2022: Mrs. Goose at N2B. We’ve seen her mate in the nest twice so far!
March 30, 2022: Close-ups of Mrs. Goose – https://youtu.be/k_TvrhnUlcY. Canada geese are so common that I’m not sure we realize how beautiful they are! This is a lovely video of Mrs. Goose sitting on her eggs. I especially love the contrast of her white eyelids and chinstrap against her beautiful black feathers, and her large, expressive eyes.
Male Canada geese do not incubate eggs, although they guard their mates and nests. By the time she is done incubating, Mrs. Goose will have lost up to 40% of her body weight and will need to feed almost continuously to regain it. This sounds alarming to me – imagine not being able to eat for, say, nine months! – but Canada geese build substantial weight reserves ahead of time to prepare for egg laying and incubation.
March 30, 2022: A close-up of Mrs. Goose
March 30, 2022: DM2 on the Y & N1, takes squirrel to a tree near the road – https://youtu.be/d-yc5GMOXcY. What would Mom and DM2 think if they knew they weren’t the stars of the show? The video opens with Mrs. Goose on N2B. It switches to DM2 on the Y-Branch at about 2:30. We get a nice long look at him before he flies into N1 and picks up yesterday’s squirrel. He flies off to a tree not far from the road and nibbles a little bit before dropping it to the ground and flying off. Maybe he didn’t feel like nestovers today!
March 29, 2022: DM2 & Mom Visit N1-On High Alert Upsets New Geese Couple – https://youtu.be/IXvWxwoCIG0. The geese appear to react to Mom and DM2’s presence at N1 and in a tree by the road, although Mom and DM2 don’t appear to pay any attention to their new tenants. We’re not really sure what was going on here, but it is interesting that the male goose came to the nest at about the same time that Mom and DM2 showed up.