We saw a lot of visiting eagles arrive late last week as subzero temperatures and storms pushed eagles into northeast Iowa. Many bald eagles winter in the same place every year, but others behave more like irruptive migrants as they wander the landscape in search of open water and easily available food. Extremely cold weather and serious snowfall push wanderers south – much to the chagrin of residents who aren’t excited about hungry visitors near their nests! The interlopers kept HD, HM, Mr. North, and TNF on their tippy-talons – although HD and HM seemed to accept subadult visitors that stayed away from the nest!
January 29, 2023: HM on T1
I loved all of these videos, but I especially enjoyed a look at HD and HM this morning (brrrrrrrr!), HM escorting a subadult away from T1, and DNF and Mr. north doing the same at the North nest! Thanks as always to our wonderful camera operators, videomakers, and all of you for watching, sharing, learning, and especially for caring. I hope you enjoy these videos as much as we did.
January 26, 2023: HM front, HD back
January 30, 2023: HD to the nest, HM to T1 – https://youtu.be/_UdyntVhudQ. The thermometer read 0F in Decorah this morning, but the cold wind made it feel more like -14! The video opens with HM perched on T1 soaking up the bright sunshine. We see a very cool fly-in by HD at 40 seconds. He checks out the nest – more snow? – and lays down to clear a little snow away. The bark-a-lounger must have been comfortable, since he stayed for four minutes before getting up and flying to the Y-Branch. Check out the video at 5:11 to see him all fluffed up against the cold!
HM rockets off T1 at 12:28. and HD begins vocalizing at about 12:42. If you listen very closely, you’ll hear the neighborhood crow watch in the distance. They had quite a bit to say about the visitors this weekend!
January 29, 2023: HM escorts a subadult visitor away from N1. HM and HD took down the ‘For Rent’ sign a very long time ago!
January 29, 2023: HM ushers out a young visitor – https://youtu.be/O1EpooVyYa4. Several eagles visited the Decorah hatchery this weekend. HM and HD tolerated a subadult until it perched on T1, which is less than 100 feet east of N1. HM was having none of it and quickly showed the young visitor out. We’ve seen territorial eagles tolerate subadult and juvenile visitors, but this one was a little to close to N1 for comfort! To see a slo-mo version, follow this link: https://youtu.be/indEHcACVO0.
Although HM escorted the subadult away from N1, a few subadults have continued to hang around the hatchery. The fishing is good and the adults appear willing to tolerate them – at least for now – as long as they stay away from the nest tree. Our camera operators reported HM, HD, and the subadult were all perched over in the trees at the base of the cliff this morning and local photographer Seth Vreeman saw at least two.
January 26, 2023: One eagle soaring with the moon – https://youtu.be/3KdvsyoWl28. Exactly as the video says! Some videos are full of excitement, while others are much more restful. This is the latter. I loved seeing a subadult eagle soaring with the moon.
Decorah North Eagles
January 25, 2023: Mr. North and DNF
January 26, 2023: Chasing off a subadult – https://youtu.be/vB7fuVLprek. The video opens with a lovely look at some bedded deer when the camera suddenly switches to DNF and Mr. North chasing a subadult. Mr. North veers off to land below the nest, while DNF continues the chase before joining him. The subadult flies by again and Mr. North takes off.
January 30, 2023: DNF works on the North nest
This year reminds of 2018/2019 (and 2013/2014 for those of you who watched back then). It seemed like the eagles would no sooner get a nice layer of grass and husks in than a storm would blow in and cover it. It was a race to the finish, although the eagles won both years!
Xcel Energy Fort St. Vrain Eagles
January 20, 2023: Ma brings stick, Pa. Jr. joins her, ducks on the water – https://youtu.be/lHsv-MS6LdU. There is no shortage of snow at our nests this year! Ma flies in with a stick and quickly scrapes a little snow away. Pa joins her and the two begin digging out and moving grass to cover the snow – with a few Beakerson’s moments along the way!
This used to be our earliest nest. Ma usually laid eggs right around Valentine’s Day, but moved quite a bit later when she accepted Pa Jr. as a mate. The two are in their third year together and we’re curious to see whether she will lay earlier this year. Nestorations and bonding have been going well so far!