June 20, 2023: News and NestFlix from Decorah

Happy National American Eagle Day, everyone! DH2 turns 75 days old today, which means that fledge is right around the corner! We’ve seen our eaglet – I’m leaning toward ‘her’ right now based on size and fledge timing, although we don’t have a way to confirm that – wingersize, trampoline, and hover as fledge draws near. Will DH2 branch or just fly away? We’ll find out soon!

Several people have expressed concern about DH2’s dinner menu. Is our eaglet really getting enough food? I took a look at the daily feeding records compiled by our volunteers. Between June 11 and June 19:

  • DH2 ate a total of 56 meals. HM fed 10 times, HD fed one time, and DH2 self-fed 45 times! Meals included fish (13), mammal (7), UFO aka unidentified food object (7), bird (1), and plenty of unknown nestovers (28). HM and HD didn’t feed DH2 very often, but they kept the pan-tree stocked!
  • How often did the P’s stock up? We counted 28 food drops overall! Food deliveries generally varied from one to six per day, almost always accompanied by loud squeeing and mantling from DH2. Our little eaglet clearly has the table manners it needs to survive: the willingness to grab, claim, and protect food, the ability to keep it, and the gumption to eat whatever it can find! Remember, DH2 isn’t a little eaglet anymore. HD and HM’s current feeding methods bolster DH2’s instincts and teach important lessons about finding and keeping food. The P’s won’t always be around to deliver meals on demand!

We’ll post about Great Spirit Bluff later today, but in the meantime, you can watch the adventures of the fledgling falcons here: https://www.raptorresource.org/birdcams/gsb-falcons/.

June 19, 2023: DH2 swallows a legbone, paw and all

June 19, 2023: DH2 swallows a leg, paw and all!

June 19, 2023: DH2 swallows paw, leg, and allhttps://youtu.be/OmcDEohRkgE. Exactly as the title says! DH2 eats what I believe is a raccoon’s leg based on the paw. It takes DH2 a couple of tries to get the bone and paw down and she has a very full crop afterwards. It’s a wonder the bone isn’t protruding from her mouth!

Bald eagles and other raptors have very strong stomach acids to help them break down and digest things like bone. This doesn’t look like an especially appetizing meal, but DH2 will be on her own in just a few months and she’ll need to take food wherever she can get it. It’s good she’s getting practice in now, since a tough bone and small paw could make the difference between life or death this winter.

June 19, 2023: DH2 and HD. I enjoy seeing parents and child together as nest life comes to a close.

June 19, 2023: DH2 and HD. I enjoy seeing parents and child together as nest life comes to a close.

June 19, 2023: HD brings breakfish, goldfinch sightinghttps://youtu.be/wugrWVWnkD8. I love to see HD and HM interacting with their first eaglet in its last stages of nest life. What do they think about all of this? Do they ever, like me, wonder where the time went? After a little mantling by DH2, HD and DH2 eat peaceably side by side in the warm morning light.

June 16, 2023: Early fish delivery, foot grabhttps://youtu.be/bNo0FD_zBiw. The video opens with a stunning look at HM. We hear bird song, the neighborhood crow watch, and screeing from DH2. HM watches, becoming more alert as the video progresses, and HM and DH2 are both vocalizing by 1:19. HD lands in the nest with an early breakfish for DH2, but his flying fishwagon is pulled up short when DH2 grabs his foot, or maybe the fish it is attached to! A brief tug-o-war ensues before HD gets his foot back!

June 20, 2023: Beautiful HM

June 20, 2023: Beautiful HM

Odds and Ends

Today is National American Eagle day! Learn more about it here: https://nationaltoday.com/national-american-eagle-day/.

Why do you still have lightning bugs? Gift link from the NYT: https://bit.ly/3NBIQrs. Warning: this article has a very sad beginning, but I still think it is an important read. “And that’s the best part, the most joyful, heart-lifting truth about what happens when we make even a little space for the natural world to live safely in the built landscape: Wildness stands ready to move right in as soon as we get out of the way.”

Eagles nests are shared by nearly 70 species of animals: https://ampoleagle.com/eagleso-nests-are-shared-by-nearly-species-of-animals-p14861-96.htm. This story comes to us from Poland and is fascinating to all of us that watch eagle nest neighbors. The researchers were studying greater spotted eagles, not bald eagles, but many of the same lessons apply. I plan to buy the paper soon and compare what they see in and around their nests with the things we see in and around ours.