Please join us on the Confusion Couch for another episode of ‘As The Nest Turns’! As you probably know, we have two active nests in Decorah right now (N2B and N3), and a new eagle couple is house-hunting at N1.
April 5, 2022: Mother Goose covers her eggs before taking an incubation break
Mother Goose has six eggs that we think will begin hatching on or around April 25. The big leap should happen within about 24 hours of hatch and we plan to have people down there to protect the geese if they decide to waddle across the road to the hatchery pond. Her laying schedule looked like this:
- Egg #1: March 24, 2022
- Egg #2: March 25, 2022
- Egg #3: March 27, 2022
- Egg #4: March 28, 2022 (full incubation begins)
- Egg #5: March 30, 2022
- Egg #6: April 1, 2022
We don’t know how many eggs Mom has and we can’t use a drone to find out – we don’t want to risk frightening Mom away from her eggs and I believe it would be illegal under the terms of the Bald and Golden Eagle Act. Fortunately, we have Robin Brumm, Dave Kester, and Laura Juszczyk to help keep an eye on things and count all the little heads that pop up over the nest’s rim in May! Hatch should begin on or around April 26: a day after the geese start hatching!
April 4, 2022: The new pair on the Y-Branch
The new eagles have been seen as recently as this morning, although they didn’t spend any time on N1 itself or the Y-Branch today. Given the number of eagles in the area, we wonder if we are seeing pair formation or a bonded pair outside a breeding ground! Our model has been based on mate replacement – one eagle dies or disappears, and the surviving eagle takes a new mate in time for the next breeding season. But eagles must have a way to pioneer and establish new territories, and an abandoned nest might draw eagles in the same way that slices and whitewash pull peregrines and other falcons into potential eyries. If someone nested here, the territory must be good, right?
April 4, 2022: We’re so excited to see eagles on N1 again, even briefly!
Neither eagle appears to be a young adult, but eagles don’t always begin breeding as soon as they reach sexual maturity. Will they stay and take this part of the territory, or will they go somewhere else? And how will Mom and DM2 react? This is Mom and DM2’s second season in N3 and I’m starting to wonder if the former hatchery/Walmart territory won’t split into two pieces: one for the Decorah eagles and one for the new eagles. I don’t think we’ll really have an answer until next fall (assuming we get one then), but in the meantime, I’m enjoying watching the new pair in and around N1.
April 5, 2022: Gniazdo bielika amerykańskiego Decorah Iowa pora jedzenia [It’s time to eat] – https://youtu.be/sgy8ae_sV5U. Madame Goose takes a quick lunch break, covering her eggs with down and sticks to hide them and keep them warm while she’s gone. Slow down the video at around 2:20 and you’ll see her mate fly by as she flies into the nest.
April 4, 2022: New bald eagle pair on the Y – https://youtu.be/0m_hvmnqm7U. I loved the mutual vocalizations beginning at 2:34, the side-by-side perching at 4:35 (along with what looked like some ‘I’m interested’ signaling), and the beautiful close-up beginning at 7:38.
April 3, 2022: Bald eagle pair doing some nestorations – https://youtu.be/F8vKZuv78qQ. I was inordinately thrilled to see them working on N1! Will we be four four this fall? Eagles took N2B, our North nest rebuild, and our rebuild/repair at Xcel Energy’s Fort St. Vrain nest in Colorado. I would love to see them at N1 again!
April 3, 2022: Mother Goose broadens and flattens her wings to protect her eggs and channel water away