March 24, 2023: Friday NestFlix and News from Decorah!

The sun is shining, the snow is melting, and birds are laying eggs!  HD and HM’s eggs should start hatching in about 11 days (April 4th), Ma and Pa Jr’s eggs should start hatching in about 17 days (April 10) and we’re looking forward to eggs at Great Spirit Bluff! Savanna has the sort of pleasantly plump look (a slightly distended lower abdomen and generally chonky appearance) that we associate with eggnancy, so I suspect it will be sooner rather than later – no surprise given how busy she and Newman have been.

Thanks to all of you for watching, learning, and caring, to our camera operators and video makers for finding and sharing special moments, and to our Master Ornithological Data Searchers, aka M.O.D.S, for sharing the stories of our birds and their lives. Happy Fri-yay, everyone!

Decorah Eagles
March 23, 2023: A snow-covered HM keeps her eggs safe and warm through the storm!

March 23, 2023: A snow-covered HM keeps her eggs safe and warm through the storm!

March 23, 2023: HM gets up, shakes off the snow, and rolls her eggs After a long, deep slumber through the storm, it’s time to throw off the snowy covers and roll the eggs! While HM gets comfortable, a little mouse runs under the snow at N2B! Can mice hurt the goose eggs? We wrote about that here: in mind that Canada Goose eggs are a little larger than Bald Eagles eggs.

March 23, 2023: HM on a windy day in Decorah

March 23, 2023: HM on a windy day in Decorah

March 22, 2023: HD fishing in the pond, eats fish then goes to the nest I love the opening of this video. HD has just caught a fish in the pond. He flies away while crows – the neighborhood watch – mob him! Why are the crows, who are local, mobbing HD, who is also a local and not directly threatening their nests or young? Crows are setting up their territories and beginning breeding activities. Bald eagles sometimes prey on crows ( and crows will be more territorial and more aggressive about any threats that come near their territories this time of the year. they are trying to enforce their own no-fly zone, which HD ignores. The video concludes with HD enjoying his fishy treat under cover and taking his shift on the eggs.

March 22, 2023: HD closeup of injured talon We first see HD’s talon at 18 seconds. It looks like his old, damaged talon has fallen off, exposing the “quick” – the tissue that contains blood supply and nerves. It also looks like a new, healthy talon is growing to replace the broken one. Dr. Laura told us that this process could take several months, but it is great to see HD on the road to healing now!

March 22, 2023: Fashion week's hottest new look: wonky sticks!

March 22, 2023: Fashion week’s hottest new look: wonky sticks!

March 22, 2023: HM puts wonky stick on HD & HD leaves the nest HD is incubating peacefully when HM drops in with a very wonky stick, which she drapes across his back before stepping on him. HD vocalizes and HM glances at the stick frontally and sideways, perhaps using both her fovea to dial in on the problem before moving the stick. She makes a good attempt, but HD still needs to extricate himself. Ah, the perils of home tweet home!

Decorah Geese

March 23, 2022: Eggie #2 for Canada Goose! How many eggs will Mother Goose lay this year? She’s not in full incubation yet, which means we’re getting excellent looks at her egg hiding techniques! Unlike bald eagles, only female geese incubate the eggs. If she has to leave the nest to eat, she’ll carefully hide her eggs under layers of nesting material.

March 23, 2023: Mother Goose takes her time covering her precious eggs Speaking of hiding…This video gives us a great look at how well geese hide their eggs! When it starts, we can clearly see them. By the time it ends, they are completely hidden. Move along – nothing interesting to see here!

I love how MG selects nest materials to build a cover that looks completely natural. If I didn’t know the eggs were there, I would think the nest was empty! It isn’t easy to completely cover your tracks, but she does a very good job! 

Did you know?

Canada geese lay eggs that are slightly larger than bald eagle eggs! An eagle’s egg is roughly 3″ x 2″, while a Canada Goose’s egg is roughly 3.3″ x 2.2″. Precocial birds like Canada Geese are more developed than altricial birds at hatch, so breeding females have to lay large, energy-rich eggs to support the greater in-egg development of their young. Their eggs may contain almost twice the calories per unit weight than the eggs of altricial birds.

Odds and Ends

A letter to the broken-hearted nest observer: It’s been a tough year at a lot of nests. Kaeili Swift’s blog, which begins “Breeding season is often a hard time for the tender hearted among us” is a wonderful read for anyone who has loved and lost a nest.