August 4, 2023: News and Nestflix from Decorah and the Flyway!

Happy Fri-yay, everyone! We have news and NestFlix from Decorah and the Mississippi Flyway for your viewing pleasure! In Decorah, our little eaglet is all grown up – well, for a juvenile – and receiving visitors as young eagles begin their pre-dispersal/pre-migratory wandering. It’s early August, daylight length is beginning to change more rapidly, and we’re starting to see a lot of pre-migratory behaviors here and on the Flyway, where shorebirds especially are strutting their stuff and posing with perfect poise in front of our cameras! Thanks to our camera operators and video makers for finding and posting such wonderful moments and to all of you for watching, sharing, learning, and especially for caring.

Decorah Eagles
August 4, 2023: Our little eaglet has gotten so big! DH2 on the Y.

August 4, 2023: Our little eaglet has gotten so big! DH2 on the Y.

August 3, 2023: DH2 is all grown up! A lovely look at DH2 on the Y. The camera operator zooms in at 1:23 for closeups of DH2’s feet. At 2:17, we move to its lovely brown feathers. At 3:03, we get a wonderful look at DH2’s noble visage in profile. The neighborhood crow watch isn’t sounding, but DH2 appears to be alertly focused on something we can’t see. The camera operator backs out at 4:46 and DH2 vocalizes at 4:54. A prey-carrying parent, perhaps? DH2 continues to look and flies out at 6:57. Our little eagle is all grown up (as much as a fledgling can be)!

August 3, 2023: DH2 by the creek.

August 3, 2023: DH2 by the creek

August 2, 2023: DH2 perches on log upstream, has another juvie for company Go to 3:44 as the camera operator zooms into the log and we see two juvenile eagles – DH2 on the log and another eagle on the ground. The two behave companionably until the unknown eagle flies off at 4:20.

Where did that juvie come from? I got curious about how far the eaglets we’ve tracked begin wandering in August of their fledge year, so I looked at our maps. By mid-August, most of our eagles were exploring significant distances from their natal nest and the hatchery area. D14 traveled 2.027 miles from N1 on August 1, 2012; D24 traveled 5.7 miles from N2B on August 20, 2016; D25 traveled 3 miles from N2B on August 10, 2023; D27 traveled 5.2 miles from N2B on August 9, 2017; D35 traveled 4.2 miles from N2B on August 4, 2020; and D36 traveled 2.5 miles away from home on August 17, 2020.

I’m not sure how many eagles are nesting in the Decorah area, but if you draw a circle five miles in diameter, centered on N1, you’ll see an awful lot of eagle territory! To explore the travels of any of the eagles we’ve tracked, visit our interactive maps:

August 3, 2023: DH2 in the Cottonwood

August 3, 2023: DH2 in the cottonwood

August 1, 2023: Sunrise, DH2 closeups on the Y This is a beautiful video! DH2 perches on the Y at sunrise, barn and horses behind it. At 5:38, we get some lovely close-ups of DH2 framed by the white barn and green and gold foliage of sunrise. Listen for a white-breasted nuthatch at 15:22!

Mississippi River Flyway
August 4, 2023: Great Egret on the Flyway

August 4, 2023: Great Egret on the Flyway

August 2, 2023: Egrets and eagles The video opens with a beautiful look at a great egret, including its long, thin dark legs, lovely snowy feathers, unique neck (5:03), and face. See its fluttering throat at about 6:12? The egret is opening its mouth wide and fluttering the thin gular membranes of its throat and mouth to aid evaporation and cool down! At 8:40, the camera operator finds an adult bald eagle eating breakfish on the Instagram log. At 10:40, it flies down, sits in the water, and takes a drink before flying back to the log and panting. The heat index was around 90F and it was hard to stay cool in the bright sunlight!

August 4, 2023: A great blue heron preens on the Flyway.

August 4, 2023: A great blue heron preens on the Flyway

August 2, 2023: Great Blue Heron A great blue heron and two diving ducks! What are they? I’m leaning toward juvenile mergansers because of shape, bill, and eye color. They swim away while the heron, who is probably hunting, poses with perfect poise and shows us what motionless looks like. The heron begins preening at about 7:09.

Odds and Ends

After 50 years, the Endangered Species Act itself may be in trouble: From the article: “The law has become so controversial that Congress hasn’t updated it since 1992 — and some worry it won’t last another half-century.” The Endangered Species Act was critical to the recovery of the Peregrine Falcon and Bald Eagle and is still needed today. Perhaps it would be a good idea to let your legislators know how you feel.

Fishing for flowers on the Mississippi River: An audio postcard from Minnesota Public Radio. Fans of the Flyway might especially enjoy this one!

August 4, 2023: A love the great egret's beautiful wing feathers and elegant posture!

August 4, 2023: A love this great egret’s beautiful wing feathers and elegant posture!

More water in Mississippi River leading to loss of floodplain forests: A family member recently asked why there are so many dead trees on the Mississippi River right now. This article talks about that, along with ways to help and recover floodplain forests.