Ma FSV laid her third egg at Xcel Energy’s Fort St. Vrain nest on Thursday, March 8, which brings the total number of eggs in our nests to six: three at FSV, two in Decorah, and one at Decorah North. DNF and Mr. North’s lone egg is 21 days old, HM and HD’s two eggs are 16 and 13 days old, and Ma and Pa Jrs eggs are eleven, eight, and four days old! Here’s a peek at what’s going on inside a four day old egg: https://www.raptorresource.org/2023/02/27/peek-inside-a-bald-eagle-egg-4-days/ and another at an eleven day old egg! https://www.raptorresource.org/2023/03/06/peek-inside-a-bald-eagle-egg-11-days/.
March 9, 2023: Mr. North incubates through the snow storm. Sweet eagle dreams for an amazing eagle Dad!
Is the Norths’ lone egg still viable? We don’t know and won’t unless Mr. North gives up or the egg hatches/doesn’t hatch. But he has been so dedicated to caring for it and we still have hope. We’ll know fairly soon, one way or the other.
I enjoyed all of these videos, but I especially enjoyed the slick shift change, the geese on N2B, Pa Jr’s attempt to keep his fish (I’m sorry, Pa, but why did you bring it if you weren’t going to share it?), and a beautiful look at Peregrine Falcon Savanna at GSB. Happy Fri-yay, everyone! Thanks so much for watching, learning, and admiring birds with us.
March 9, 2023: HD peeks out from behind his privacy fence!
March 10, 2023: HM calls for a break, HD takes over – https://youtu.be/9PAg11jvWrU. HM was incubating in a snow drift this morning! She gets up, white snow dappling her dark feathers, makes some adjustments, and settles back in before getting up at 2:20. She flies out, giving us a wonderful look at the eggs. Although the egg cup is surrounded by snow, the eggs are warm and dry. HD flies in at 3:23 and settles in for his shift.
March 9, 2023: HM (I think) seems as tired of the snow as we are! Think spring!
March 9, 2023: Slick shift change – https://youtu.be/Vg7khH2qsyc. HD is incubating when HM flies in for a shift change at 20 seconds. He doesn’t seem very excited about it as he sits and vocalizes. She leans over him and nudges him with her leg at 38 seconds. Since he can’t ignore her any longer, he gets up and flies out. She arranges the covers and shimmies over the eggs!
March 8, 2023: I pictured an eagle perched when I trimmed the Skyway, not a goose! His flat, webbed feet are not as good for gripping as an eagle’s ratcheting raptor toes!
March 8, 2023: Geese on N2B and Skywalk: https://youtu.be/708L-_0T9n4. You may or may not be excited about the Canada Geese, but the geese are excited about N2B! The video opens with one goose on the nest. Another – the male, I think – flies up on to the Skywalk. When I trimmed it last year, I pictured eagles perching there, but we had geese on March 8! While she explores the nest and preens, he guards her. At 5:27, we get a wonderful close-up look at him. Given his wide, flat feet and lack of talons, I’m not surprised that he’s standing right above a knot – the same place I sit to trim or brace my feet against if I’m further out on the branch! At 12:04, we see them both on the Skywalk. Check the video at 13:47 to see him carefully walk down the Skywalk into the nest and listen for geese honking in the background!
A follower coined the term Honkway for anywhere that Canada Geese regularly fly thru, migrate, or hang out. The hatchery is definitely a honkway right now!
March 7, 2023: A feather study. HD is beautiful!
March 7, 2023: HD feather study, watchful – https://youtu.be/EeoLbHXRRUI. Birds have six types of feathers, according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. This video shows us HD’s tail feathers (note the symmetry of his central deck feathers), the pointed tips of his primaries, his tightly-lapped covert or contour feathers, his ‘eyelashes’, aka bristle feathers, and even a little bit of down near the base of his tail! A beautiful look at a handsome eagle.
If you’d like to test your feather knowledge, take our quiz of the week: https://www.raptorresource.org/classroom/weekly-quiz/. If you want to brush up on your feather knowledge before taking the quiz, follow this link! https://www.raptorresource.org/2023/03/01/like-water-off-an-eagles-back/.
Xcel Energy Fort St. Vrain Eagles
March 7, 2023: Fish delivery…contested! https://youtu.be/-90hvhhANf4. Why did Pa Jr. bring a fish to the nest if he didn’t want to share it? He comes into the nest with a fish at 16 seconds. Ma reaches for it and grabs it with her beak as he attempts to fly away with it! A brief tug-o-fish ensues, but she quickly drags him back into the nest and takes the fish. She mantles over it while Pa complains, but the fish is hers now and she’s not giving it up!
Great Spirit Bluff Falcons
March 10, 2023: Peregrine falcon Savanna at Great Spirit Bluff.
March 10, 2023: Bonding in the nestbox – https://youtu.be/AXvbS1paTBc. The video opens with Newman perched in front of the nest box. He hops into the nest box and Savanna flies in wailing! The two go into a head-bobbing courtship pavane, locking eyes, bobbing heads (mostly Newman) and chupping intensely. Stop the video at 1:27 to see Newman launch like a rocket from the box! She moves to the front of the box at 2:08 and starts a little self-care, preening her long wing feathers. The camera operator moves in on her feet at 2:48, giving us a nice look at her long, lovely toes. Although they I enjoyed this whole video, I especially like the section that begins at 3:57 as she scratches her face and cleans snow from her toes. She is beautiful!
Savanna is a 2019 hatch from the Bank of the West building in Fargo, ND. Zooey did not show up this spring as far as we know. We haven’t heard or seen her yet and would expect her to be back on territory by now. As is common among many birds of prey, eligible bachelor Newman attracted a new mate.
Falcons eat birds that they catch in the air, and they usually kill by either breaking their prey’s back on impact or using their tomial tooth to sever its spinal cord. Bald eagles eat a lot of things and usually kill by crushing and piercing prey with their strong feet and long, sharp talons. Their feet reflect their very different prey strategies: where eagle feet are large, thick, and very strong, falcon feet and toes especially are slender and very long – perfect for snatching a tumbling carcass in midair. I loved the nice look at Savanna’s feet!