Today DN15 and DN16 turn 129 and 128 days old. Last year, none of our camera operators reported seeing DN13 or DN14 at the North nest last year after August 14th. That got me curious, since we know the eaglets are beginning to wander prior to dispersal. I took a look at each year’s August map in two sections: one from August 1 through August 15, and one from August 16 through August 31. While most of our eaglets didn’t disperse until roughly the second week of September, almost all of them were wandering more widely by mid-August. Even though they were in the area, we would have been very unlikely to see or hear them without ground reports. Treasure your time with the tree-riffic two now – summer break is almost over and, like so many other birds, they are getting itchy feet – er, wings!
Thanks to our wonderful camera operators for finding such special moments, our videomakers for saving them, and to all of you for watching, sharing, learning, and especially for caring! You rock!
Decorah North Eagles
July 31, 2022: An eaglet preens near the north nest. I believe this is DN16, but I don’t quite have her tail markings down.
August 1, 2022: Chipmunk video with hummingbird photobomb – https://youtu.be/CcUKpvdc3f4. What’s that chirping noise? It’s a chipmunk! We get some great close-ups starting at 1:18 before the chipmunk pops into the nest and out through the basement door. Look for a quick glimpse of the nest’s understructure at 2:07 to see the boards that hold it up, followed by a ruby-throated hummingbird photobomb and great close-ups of the chipmunk around 4:45.
What is the chipmunk doing? ‘Chucking’ is a warning vocalization emitted in the presence of an aerial predator – in this case, most likely a bald eagle! The sound warns other chipmunks – and anyone else who understands it – to watch our for danger on the wing! Chipmunk warning vocalizations may differ depending on the threat. More here: https://youtu.be/ESJaPmfbius.
August 2, 2022: DN16 near the North nest. Room service might be slow, but you can’t beat the view!
August 1, 2022: Room service at this place is really slow – https://youtu.be/ZNq-hOsU1OQ. The video opens with DN15 and DN16 perched peacefully on the left side and babysitting branches. We get nice close-ups of DN15 beginning at 1:01. His chocolate brown plumage and glossy eyes look absolutely beautiful as the camera operator treats us to a close-up. But while we admire him, he appears to be looking for a room service breakfish delivery. Alas, room service is really slow at this place!
July 28, 2022: Food drop, DN15 flies off with it, DN16 in hot pursuit – https://youtu.be/1SlFLjLBne8. Followers often wonder when the eaglets will begin hunting and fishing on their own. While some fledglings make kills early, juveniles especially are more likely to rely on scavenging, piracy, and kleptoparasitism to eat. As this video shows, the tree-riffic two are quickly learning a skill that will stand them in good stead at eagle college! Here’s another nice look at DN15 and DN16’s eagle table manners: https://youtu.be/LbsRnShwwRo. Miss Manners might not approve, but we do!
Beginning at about 1:34, we see Mr. North – probably relieved to still have his toes! – staring intently at the bottom of the nest. He starts digging at the base of the hemp plant beginning at about two minutes. On page 106 of his book ‘The Bald Eagle’, Mark Stalmaster writes: “A most unusual foraging ploy takes place in Alaska. Eagles excavate seabirds from their burrows by digging in the ground and yanking the nesting seabirds out.” Perhaps one of the basement dwellers got a little too close to the surface!
Great Spirit Bluff Falcons
August 1, 2022: A Turkey Vulture at Great Spirit Bluff
August 1, 2022: Turkey Vulture at Great Spirit Bluff – https://youtu.be/KW8XRDb3trw. Wait, those aren’t peregrine falcons! Two turkey vultures stop by the peregrine falcon nest box at Great Spirit Bluff. See those nostrils? The turkey vulture has an olfactory bulb that is four times larger than that of the black vulture and packed with mitral cells that transmit information about smell to its brain. If bald eagles are flying eyes and barn owls are flying ears, than turkey vultures are flying noses!
August 1, 2022: A glorious night on the Flyway
August 1, 2022: HD morning stretches, to N1, stick fixing and whittling – https://youtu.be/aCVdmEfkMHA. Is that…nest testing!? I enjoyed this whole video, but I especially loved HD settling in for a round of nest testing at 6:28. After a nice sit, he begins fiddling with and moving pokey sticks away from the front of what we hope will become the nest cup. As we all know, sticks have to be just right – especially if you are a stick-obsessed male eagle!
August 1, 2022: HD does a little nest testing. If the sticks aren’t right, the nest isn’t right!
August 1, 2022: HD eats his breakfast on N1 and the Y-Branch – https://youtu.be/c5bSbosTi_Q. HD is about to enjoy breakfish in N1 when something distracts him. After a few bites, he flies out to the Y-branch with his prize clutched firmly in his talons, and settles down to eat.
July 29, 2022: HD and HM on the Y-Branch