We have your Decorah and Decorah North nestflix! Mr. North, DNF, HD, and HM have made wonderful progress removing snow: trampling, smushing, rolling, and scraping to get down to the substrate before covering the nest floor with layer upon layer of shredded corn husks and fine grass. I loved all of these videos, but I especially enjoyed Mr. North pole-vaulting into the nest, HD’s giant stick, HM and HD perching together, beautiful white-tailed deer, and some hilarious North nestorations! I hope you enjoy these videos as much as we did. A thousand thanks to our awesome camera operators and videomakers for finding and sharing such special moments.
January 24, 2023: HD getting a stick just right!
January 24, 2022: Morning song, HD and HM on the nest & HD eats a frozen fish –https://youtu.be/aaqZKtsujJs. This video has a little bit of everything: HD and HM perched on a favorite branch (their size difference is very apparent), a cool fly-in by both, brief nestorations, and HD eating a frozen fish stick! I was pleased to see their progress on the nest today!
January 23, 2023: HD brings a big stick to the nest – https://youtu.be/OelvK8S_h58. HD is a lumberjack! He brings a very large, very wonky stick to the nest and has to figure out how to place it once it gets lodged around a limb. He eventually gives up, at least for the time being, and settles in for some nest bowl work.
This video reminded me of another stick situation back on January 18. A similarly-shaped wishbone stick seemed to cause quite a bit of annoyance for HD and HM as they struggled to move it into place! https://youtu.be/8EEwVH-RxYk. Sometimes HM disagrees with HD’s sticky decisions, but she left this one largely up to him! https://youtu.be/aJEVenk6Ewc
January 23, 2023: HM flies into N1
January 22, 2023: HM and HD perching together – https://youtu.be/w1f_dnbjvRc. Sometimes I like exciting videos where a lot is going on – giant sticks and stick tango, fishing, eating, copulation, squirrels, chases, and everything else that goes on the eagle world. And sometimes I like the simplicity and stillness of two beautiful eagles perched together. This is the latter.
January 21, 2023: Eagle and pileated woodpecker – https://youtu.be/MpRpCPEjwOA. North America’s largest woodpecker isn’t easy to see, but the camera operator moves in at about 59 seconds. I think this might be a male given the size of the crest. He appears to be gleaning for insects, although we’ve heard woodpeckers drumming to attract mates starting in late January.
Decorah North Eagles
January 23, 2023: Mr. North at left and DNF at right
January 24, 2023: Stick dancing, whittling, nestorations – https://youtu.be/6XA1KJk7UrI. The nest bowl is looking a lot better this morning, with plenty of soft, warm flooring covering the snow. The video opens with DNF inviting Mr. North to stick tango by dropping a stick right in front of him. He accepts her invitation, although the dance doesn’t go very smoothly since she begins by dragging the stick across his back! Is this the tango or the mamushka? Once the stick is placed, the two continue north nestorations. Look for body brushing and a few gentle pecks at 1:37.
January 23, 2023: White-tailed stag at Decorah North – https://youtu.be/iBgl8RDZcXE. Who’s a handsome buck? This is a handsome buck! You can see a doe – possibly one of his partners during the rut – here: https://youtu.be/BqTzDsCFBY4.
Watch the video and you’ll see that both deer have thick woolly winter coats. Much like an eagle’s body feathers, a deer’s coat consists of an outer protective layer and an inner insulative layer. Long, dark, weatherproof guard hairs channel moisture away from the deer’s soft underfur and skin, absorb solar energy, and help reduce energy expenditure. A deer’s thick crinkly underfur is about five times denser than its guard hairs and, like adult down on a bald eagle, traps layers of air, with warmer layers held closer to the skin.
When we’re cold, a specialized muscle at the root of our body hair erects and gives us goosebumps: an involuntary reaction that doesn’t help us very much since we don’t have much body hair. But it works wonderfully for deer, sheep, llamas, caribou, and anything else with a nice coat of fur. Like an eagle puffing up its feathers, the erect fur traps even more air and help deer stay warm even in very cold weather. So little heat escapes that – as we see in the second video – deer bed comfortably down in the snow. Feathers and fur are two very different approaches to keeping warm, but both work in fairly similar ways. Thanks to photographer Michael Furtman for posting about deer and other animals in the northern woods!
January 23, 2023: Mr. North pole vaults into the North nest. Our judges send him home with the gold!
January 22, 2023: Mr. North caught a fish, is swimming and brings fish to DNF + super slo mo – https://youtu.be/cupbV2dwpgM. This video opens with a hunting/fishing technique I haven’t tended to associate with bald eagles – ground stalking! The video opens with Mr. North sitting on the creek’s bank and peering intently into the water. At 7 seconds, he leaps up and plunges into the creek! (check the slo mo, which is very cool) He catches a fish, breaststrokes to the other side, and hauls it up on to the bank. Of course he’ll share with his mate, but he takes a couple of bites before bringing it to her. He flies it into the nest and hands it over very nicely – the perfect gift for his always hungry mate!
With egg laying less than a month away, DNF is beginning to build up her water and nutrient reserves and shift fat to her brood patch. DNF’s brood patch is much more than a scrap of bare skin: https://www.raptorresource.org/2022/02/04/what-is-a-brood-patch/.
January 22 and 23, 2023: North fishing nestorations hanging out – https://youtu.be/proiVRBg8KA. This is a long video, but it is a very nice look at eagle domestic life with some great close-ups of Mr. North and DNF. Watch the whole thing or skip through and find your favorite parts!