February 16, 2023: No eggs yet + falcon yoga

DNF didn’t lay an egg on February 16, although she and Mr. North kept busy with nursery prep: bringing in plenty of new nesting material, scraping and loosening the substrate to keep it soft and fluffy, and raising the rails to keep eaglets in and wind out. They are spending the night just one tree north of the nest tree: not on the nest, but not very far away from it! We’re crossing our talons for an egg tomorrow afternoon and we’ll get everyone caught up on NestFlix tomorrow morning!
In the meantime, Peregrine Falcon Newman reminds us to get up and stretch while we’re waiting for DNF to lay her first egg! Newman returned to Great Spirit Bluff on February 11th, breaking his earliest return record by one day. We haven’t seen Zooey yet: not surprising, since male falcons usually return before females. Will she also return (relatively) early or stick with last year’s schedule? We’re looking forward to finding out! We’ve also seen falcons at Great Spirit Bluff and Xcel Energy’s Allen S. King and High Bridge plants and we’re curious to see whether these early returns add up to earlier nesting dates. If you get a band number, please let us know!

Newman’s beautiful clenched readiness reminds me of this quote from J.A. Baker’s ‘The Peregrine Falcon” as the sky and river flex and wake with returning birds.

“Cold air rises from the ground as the sun goes down. The eye-burning clarity of the light intensifies. The southern rim of the sky glows to a deeper blue, to pale violet, to purple, then thins to grey. Slowly the wind falls, and the still air begins to freeze. The solid eastern ridge is black; it has a bloom on it like the dust on the skin of a grape. The west flares briefly. The long, cold amber of the afterglow casts clear black lunar shadows. There is an animal mystery in the light that sets upon the fields like a frozen muscle that will flex and wake at sunrise.”