May 6, 2023: Nestflix and News (with pelicans!)

We have your Saturday NestFlix! HD2 entered its fifth week of life yesterday and hit the standing milestone on Wednesday. Watch out below – projectile pooping is about to enter a new era! We also saw unihemispheric sleep, sweet eagle dreams, an intruder, and DH2 playing ‘house’. What a charming week! On the Mississippi Flyway, we’re enjoying a new Instagrammable log. Pelicans, Caspian terns, cormorants, and bald eagles are all showing up for selfies and videos! We hope you enjoy these videos as much as we did. Thanks to all of you for watching, sharing, learning, and caring, and to our awesome camera operators and video makers for finding and sharing such wonderful moments with us. Rock on!

Decorah Eagles
May 4, 2023: DH2 relaxes in N1, the sky reflected in its eyes.

May 4, 2023: DH2 relaxes in N1, the sky reflected in its eyes.

May 4, 2023: Close-up of DH2’s face Exactly what the title says – a close-up of DH2’s sleepy face. Someday, DH2 will be a sky mariner, with all the rewards and risks that entails. But for now, DH2 dozes in a tree, sky and tree reflected in its dark eyes.

Is this unihemispheric sleep? Many creatures, including eagles, can sleep with one eye open. Unihemispheric sleep is almost exclusively restricted to the light phase of sleep: think napping over deep sleep (“I’m not sleeping, I’m just resting my eyes!”). DH2 seems to fall into a deeper sleep at 2:25 before startling awake at 4:08. Look for what appear to be rapid eye movements and twitching during that time period. Perhaps DH2 is dreaming:

May 4, 2023: DH2 doing some nestorating DH2 plays house, moving nesting materials around to get things just right, until Mom shows up with a bone, which DH2 takes from her. Big kid behaviors, big kid food!

May 6, 2023: DH2 has entered its fifth week of life. Big kid behaviors, big kid clown clompers!

May 6, 2023: DH2 has entered its fifth week of life. Big kid behaviors, big kid clown clompers!

Moving nest materials is instinctive (think of eagles and their sticky obsessions!) but also great fun! Learning and play build on instinctive behaviors to produce knowledge, something we talked about at the end of this blog on DH1 and DH2:

May 4, 2023: A subadult is too close. HM is not happy. HD chases it off HM is in the nest with DH2. She begins volalizing at 13 seconds. At 15 seconds, we see the source of her distress – a lovely subadult perched on a nearby branch. Take a good look at its eyes and you’ll see that they are intermediate between a young eagle’s dark eyes and an older eagle’s light eyes!

The eagle sits quietly while HM continues to vocalize and DH2 slumbers at her feet. At 12:34, her vocalizations intensify and she adds a two-note ‘whistle’ to her vocal repertoire. the intruder appears to take note. At about 13:34 HD vocalizes back. He chases the intruder out at 13:59.
Look for the chase at the lower right corner of the video at about 14:01.

May 3, 2023: DH2 is standing up on its feet And DH2 stood up during its fourth week of life! The eaglet’s first steps are a little unsteady and it quickly plops down on its rump. Still, a big milestone for a (smallish) eaglet!

Mississippi Flyway

May 4, 2023: American White Pelicans Wow! Splendid closeups of white pelicans on a snag. Check out 13:01 for a very cool look at a pelican’s face, complete with breeding bump and loose pouch. It wasn’t so long ago that like eagles and geese, we would just never see them. I love them all so much.

May 4, 2023: Caspian Tern Another cool look at a Flyway bird! We’re glad to have an instagrammable log back!

If you are reading this on the evening of May 6, go to and scroll back the video for a wonderful look at pelicans and cormorants – all together on the river’s most instagrammable log!

Odds and Ends

You often ask us what you can do to help eagles, falcons, and other animals. If you live in or around the Upper Mississippi River, check out the Lake Pepin Alliance. They are doing a lot of important work to protect and improve one of the world’s very greatest rivers here in the heartland of the United States:

How about gardening and lawn care? A woman in Fort Collins wanted a natural lawn and challenged her community’s gardening standards. Now, rules against “non-standard landscaping” have been eliminated and Fort Collins has an active initiative to encourage diversification of the landscape: