May 8, 2023: What are we looking forward to this week?

What are we looking forward to this week? We’ve got hatch at Great Spirit Bluff, nestling falcons at Alma, Great River Energy, and the Dubuque Courthouse, and some projected big nights on the Mississippi Flyway. Let’s break it down!

Great Spirit Bluff
May 8, 2023: Savanna's eggs

May 8, 2023: Savanna’s eggs

Hatch has started at Great Spirit Bluff! Falcons normally begin full incubation after they lay their penultimate egg and it generally takes about thirty-three days from the onset of full incubation to the beginning of hatch. Savanna laid egg #3 on April 3rd, so we guesstimated that hatch would begin on May 6th. But it can take a little longer for eggs to develop and it’s not uncommon for first-time layers to lay an infertile egg or two. Did we see a pip this morning? We did! 

May 8, 2023: HM's new slippers! HD2 is huddling beneath her on a rainy, wet morning in Decorah.

May 8, 2023: HM’s new slippers! HD2 is huddling beneath her on a rainy, wet morning in Decorah.

DH2 is in its fifth week of life and the milestones are coming fast! We’ve seen it standing on its feet, casting a pellet, and playing house. Look for DH2’s wingercizing game to really ramp up as it strengthens leg and wing muscles in preparation for its first flight! While fledge isn’t easy to guesstimate, DH2 will turn 75 days old on June 21, which puts our little eaglet about halfway through nest life by the end of this week.

Decorah North
May 8, 2023: Incubation? Time will tell!

May 8, 2023: Incubation? Time will tell!

Mr. North and DNF are around, but they haven’t deterred the grackle. She appears to be incubating, although we haven’t glimpsed her eggs yet. According to Birds of the World, grackles incubate for 13 to 15 days, so we’ll see what happens in a couple of weeks. Mr. North and DNF are highly unlikely to reclutch at this point, but we’re seeing the two of them, grackles, wood thrushes, American robins, and of course the cows. When an English Sparrow showed up – beautiful, but invasive and generally considered undesirable – I turned to Google and my bird books to learn more. The ‘Sparrow War‘ of the 1870’s has not ended, but for all the opprobrium that gets heaped on this little bird’s head, it is in decline and has been since the mid-1970’s. Perhaps it wasn’t a species-level factor in the declines of native birds?

Mississippi Flyway
May 5, 2023: Pelican with breeding bump. But where did everyone go this morning?

May 5, 2023: Pelican with breeding bump. But where did everyone go this morning?

Where were all the birds on the Flyway this morning? Birdcast estimated that 206,600 birds flew over La Crosse County last night – a huge migration flight! While some of the birds we watch are nocturnal migrants (Blue-winged Teal) others are diurnal migrants (American White Pelicans). But diurnal or nocturnal, migrants will be take to the skies whenever conditions are favorable. After several days of unfavorable winds from the north, they were eager to leave! The next couple of nights are supposed to be massive. We’ll leave the cameras on and look and listen for birds early and late.

Marshall Turkey Vultures

We didn’t know what to expect from the turkey vultures this year, especially since they arrived so early but seemed to disappear for a while. MTV laid her first egg on April 23rd. Although we don’t know if these are the same vultures, egg laying started on the 23rd in 2022 as well. We’re not looking forward to hatch until May 30, but it’s worth tuning in to take a look. This cam is usually in monochrome – turkey vultures prefer to nest in the dark and we use IR to see them – but we sometimes get light during the afternoon.

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