The Decorah and Decorah North NestFlix are back! In Decorah, HD and HM cope with hawk intruders, experience a branch collection mishap, and draw closer to N1. Nestorations have already resumed at Decorah North, where Mr. North and DNF seem very enthused about getting the nursery ready for the 2024 season. The Flyway is tremendously busy with birds right now – there were hundreds of cranes just today, along with more elusive migrants like Wilson’s Snipe, Sora, and plovers – but we managed to pick a few favorite videos, including a young eagle enjoying some spa time. We hope you enjoy these videos as much as we did!
October 16, 2023: HM with a stick towards N1 but she leaves it on a branch – https://youtu.be/E2Rmm_wbk68?si=P5ZGSdC7kLmHanhX. Whatch’ya thinking, HM? If only we spoke Eaglish! The video opens with HM perched high on the bluff. At about 1:00, she tears off a wonky stick from the dead limb behind her, flying out at 1:16. Her downward spiraling flight is quite lovely and she does a good job balancing the stick, adjusting it midflight for security, balance, or both. At 3:00, we see her perched in the spooky tree, a dead tree about 200 feet from the nest. She flies out at 4:21, leaving the stick behind.
We’re all excited to see HM and HD back in N1 and they slowly seem to be drawing closer as the days get shorter and the leaves begin to fall. This is the nearest either one has come since we turned the cameras back on. Talons crossed that one of the two – or both! – will bring a stick to the nest in the next couple of days! If you are curious about the branches and trees we mention – what is the spooky tree? – check out our branch ID: https://www.raptorresource.org/birdcams/decorah-eagles/ and click ‘branch ID’ right above the video feed. Establishing names helps us to understand where the eagles are perching and what they are doing.
October 16, 2023: HM and HD deal with hawk intruders – https://youtu.be/JjDpx3xBnZY?si=KR5uF0n00BLfCAGo. The sun is shining, the skies are blue, and birds of prey are wandering through! Look for hawk chases as the video opens and at 28 seconds, 1:00, 1:12 (the hawk swoops at HM), 2:11 (the hawk swoops at HM and wow, is it quick!), and 2:18 (the hawk drives HM off hatchery rock). She settles in a tree below the bluff and HD flies in to perch with her at 6:26. The two duet – no hawks allowed!
Why do eagles sometimes tolerate intruders? Eagles can’t spend their energy responding to every raptor that wanders through their territory, or they wouldn’t have enough left for nest building and eaglet care. Intruder response is influenced by the time of the year, the intruder’s proximity to the eagle and nest, the intruder’s attitude, the presence or absence of nestlings, local status, and so on. In this particular case, it looked a bit like a game of cat and mouse, albeit one with potentially serious consequences. HM couldn’t let a hawk pass that close without reminding it who owns the hatchery territory, and the hawk – a wandering migrant, perhaps? – couldn’t let the reminder go without a response!
October 15, 2023: HD & HM in Tree-HM Goes Way Out On a Limb-It Breaks – https://youtu.be/3T__e66ujQs?si=XuAP5AA-r6srSjVk. Lumberjacking isn’t without its risks, as HM finds out in this video. Watch the whole thing or go straight to 6:08 to see HM ease out on a dead limb, which snaps beneath her! She keeps her cool and the camera operator finds her perched in a tree at 6:47. Way to recover, HM!
Decorah North Eagles
October 14, 2023: Mr. and DNF starting nestorations – https://youtu.be/p-AdwrOleOc?si=tuU0L1ajKh5GfFgH. Cattle and eagle lovers, this video is for you! It opens with cattle grazing on a vivid green pasture as DNF flies by with a stick. She brings it to the nest and starts arranging it! At 2:19, Mr. North flies in, a clump of something held securely in his left talon. The two dig in the nest and spread a little material before he flies out and she returns to raising the rails. The nest is already starting to take shape!
Watch the North’s evening visit here: https://youtu.be/14w-bxi4WSI?si=wbct-js6OUHXNSIR.
October 16, 2023: Sandhill Cranes. Close-up juvenile – https://youtu.be/glvxBWBoyY8?si=Y4oTwkiycStO3H-M. The video opens with two Sandhill Cranes – a juvenile (left) and adult (right) – foraging together. Take a look at 2:22 to see the adult’s ‘hammering’ technique as it dislodges soil, probes for food, and breaks up vegetation. Juvenile close-ups start at 3:46.
Sandhill cranes are omnivorous feeders who adapt their diets to the habitat around them. They use their long, straight beaks to probe for food up to a foot below the water’s surface, hammering to dislodge soil and break vegetation, and flipping their heads to remove soil particles. A sandhill crane can forage deeper in the water, probe farther beneath the water’s surface, and eat larger items than short little waders like dunlin, godwits, and sandpipers.
October 11, 2023: Young eagle taking a bath – https://youtu.be/AExKAbIiDpQ?si=Y_eEBWvYA3paMR4h. Splish splash, it’s an eagle bath – plus 11 eagle onlookers sitting on the log! I loved the muddy eagle footprints, the rippling water, the eagle’s floating feathers, and the wonderful view of a lively young eagle enjoying its world.
For more close-ups, watch this video of an adult bald eagle, also taken on October 11th. It was a great day for eagles! https://youtu.be/-kLnnkh_PkM?si=biCMB4PAvbB0_9L1