Grab a warm drink, hunker down, and enjoy HD and HM’s snowy NestFlix nestorations in Decorah! Several of you have expressed concern about Mr. North and DNF. It’s not uncommon for eagles to disappear during extremely cold weather, since they seek shelter and reduce activity to maximize energy gain and minimize energy loss. We saw the Norths last Wednesday (thanks, Pauline) and we’re looking for them again now that things have warmed up. If we don’t see them on camera soon, we’ll snowshoe out and see what we can find.
Thank you so much for watching, sharing, learning, and especially for caring. May there be peace, joy, and plenty of birds for you and your loved ones in the year to come!
HD left, HM right. Can you see the eagle heart?
December 21, 2022: HD in the comfy nest, HM brings a stick – https://youtu.be/BqeN7Nf_V7c. The video opens with a look at HD and HM’s grass-covered Talon-Pedic nest. HD hop-flaps in at 25 seconds and makes some adjustments before sinking down into the nest and pulling up the covers! Slow down the video to see how he quickly gets up and moves out of the way when HM drops into the nest with a stick at 3:26! The two dig in the nest, fine-tuning and fluffing grass to get everything just right. HM leaves but HD continues to work until something we hear but can’t see catches his attention at 5:31. He becomes very alert and flies out at 6:59.
HD, HM, and a treasured view.
December 20, 2022: HD makes a quick visit to the nest, tests the fit – https://youtu.be/JrXVgLH2wuA. HD looks amazing in the bright winter sunlight! He digs deeply, fluffing grass and loosening the substrate before sinking into the nest at 1:38. Using his beak as an anchor, he briefly scrapes and rolls to get things just right! At 4:17, he is distracted by a small bird that we can hear but not see. He gets up at 7:24 and flies out to the Y-Branch at 8:19. He flies off at 9:50.
I enjoyed seeing the retention pond at the end of the video. Spring water comes out of the ground at about 44F – very cold for bathing, but roughly 34F warmer than the air temperature when this video was made. We get ‘steam fog’ when cold, dry air moves over (relatively) warmer water. As water evaporates, the air above the pond is cooled to saturation and tiny droplets of water condense out to form fog or clouds. It’s cold outside!
December 20, 2022: Four eagles over the pond – https://youtu.be/k0_-k48GF6s. The video opens with a shot of N1 as the neighborhood crow watch sounds an alarm. There are three adult eagles over the retention pond! One of them chases the intruder off and the two – presumably HD and HM – return to soaring. Suddenly, another eagle flies in from the right! Slow or stop the video at :27 and look for four eagles – two adults, a subadult, and an unknown (but I think it might be the third adult we saw earlier). Chasing and hunting continue for several minutes.
December 20, 2022: HD and HM visited N1 at 2am. We’re not sure what prompted their late night visit, but it might have been an owl strike.
December 20, 2022: HM to the nest around 2 am, both working & HD takes a nap – https://youtu.be/RDqGZiBeEew. I’m not sure what happened or why HM came to the nest at 2am, although we hear a sound that could be an owl strike and HD vocalizes. HM works on the nest by herself – she looks lovely under IR candlelight! – until HM joins her at 5:58. It’s very early for nestorations, but the two get busy! Look for some very cute beakering beginning at 9:24 – those beaky kisses! – and some lovely looks at the two of them together. HD flies out at 10:11 and HM falls asleep in his cozy Bark-a-lounger, all tired out from the late night nestorations. I can’t help but wonder what he’s dreaming about: https://www.raptorresource.org/2020/02/20/sweet-eagle-dreams/
December 20, 2022: I loved their beak kisses and gentle nibbles. It was very dark out and I’m not sure how well the two could see one another. Perhaps the nibbles were a way to establish familiarity in the dark.
Odds and Ends
Do you wonder how we get to a Bald Eagle’s nest? Have you seen our first educational video? https://youtu.be/hB1O-sk0o5k