If you’ve been watching the Decorah Eagles this week, you know that they’ve been carrying sticks to various trees in and around the hatchery. Will they return to N1 or build a new nest elsewhere? Our magic 8-ball remains unclear, but we’ve been tracking HD and HM as they perch, attempt to place sticks (camera operator note: ‘The sticks keep falling’), and explore housing options – including HD’s visit to the Y and extensive perching on a tree about 200 feet from N1. It’s all on eagle time – and talons! – at this point.
Looking for nestorations? Mr. North and DNF have returned to the North Nest and are busy building! While it’s early in the season, they’ve already done an impressive amount of work and the 2024 nest is taking shape quite nicely. While I enjoyed all of today’s NestFlix, I especially liked the North Nest stick follies just this morning (‘The Stick’). What was it about Mr. North’s stick? Neither DNF nor Mr. North could keep their beaks off it, or agree on where exactly it should go!
If you’d like to catch a glimpse of Eagle College, take a look at the Flyway videos! A beautiful subadult displays a very full crop as it perches and preens, and another scares some cranes as it shows off its flight skills. I give it an A+ – but I grade a lot easier than eagle college instructors and Sandhill Cranes.
Thank you so much for watching, sharing, learning, and especially for caring. We hope you enjoy these videos as much as we did and we’ll keep everyone posted! A special shoutout to our camera operators and videomakers for all of their help finding and preserving such special moments.
October 19, 2023: HD & HM continuing with stick work on bluff perch tree – https://youtu.be/LPfm4Odx-70?si=IM_Zy9Ug6CVYtDCP. As mentioned earlier, HD and HM have been placing sticks on several trees around the hatchery. They spent a fair amount of time in the bluff perch tree (BPT) this summer – one of the reasons we named it – and we spotted them trying to place sticks there on October 19, October 18, and October 17. It’s a little tricky to see through the fall foliage, but forward to 5:38 to see HM hop over to a tree behind the BPT. She comes back with a stick at 7:23 (I love her jungle gymnastics and clambering versus the aerial fly-ins we see at N1) and attempts to place it. The stick is straight and the dead limbs are thin, so it quickly drops to the ground.
October 19, 2023: HD & HM on bluff perch, collecting sticks – https://youtu.be/arHZDMH7B64?si=pRtiaBOobtNXIRWQ. I recommend going to 1:44. HM is perched on the spooky tree about 200 feet from the nest, a stick clutched in her talon. Is she attempting to place it here, in a dead limb next to the road? She fiddles with the stick until part of it falls to the ground at 2:30. HD flies in to join her at 4:33 – a really beautiful fly-in! – and perches until 9:31, when he walks up the tree and grabs what’s left of HM’s stick. The two continue to perch and fiddle with sticks until HM flies out at 25:47, followed by HD not long after.
Look for a brief squirrel appearance starting at about 2:08!
October 17, 2023: Eagle to the Y-Branch – https://youtu.be/m3MJOVpVWyo?si=1Hq9GMPTPuiANCVh. The video opens with HM perched in a tree to the west of N1. She preens a bit before flying out at 1:28 and flying into the Y-branch at about 2:00 (slow the video down to see her very cool fly-in). She stays until 9:47, when she flies out.
Decorah North Eagles
October 19, 2023: The Stick – https://youtu.be/8EQeXMAywvE?si=jnXqniA9VW2zlPps. The video opens with Mr. North and DNF working on North nestorations. At 10 seconds, Mr. North’s stick catches DNF’s eye. Surely he needs help placing it! She takes the stick away and attempts to put it where it belongs. Not so fast! Mr. North grabs the stick at 34 seconds. It doesn’t go there, dear – it goes here! DNF disagrees and takes the stick back to make sure it is placed to her exacting specifications. Will this be its final location? Only DNF and Mr. North know for sure!
October 19, 2023: Breakfast at Decorah North – https://youtu.be/lu1c75yIORk?si=bPT_dFxqY8uH_ZSu. I enjoyed this whole video – who wouldn’t want sushi for breakfish? – but I especially loved DNF’s postprandial perching, which starts at about 5:12. She nibbles the last bits of fish from between her talons and toes, her smooth dark feathers and white head a lovely contrast against the tree’s golden leaves and rough bark.
October 16, 2023: DNF Wingslaps Lucky – https://youtu.be/-2SgmQVisMg?si=og1NQGULFryNARzt. Lucky the fox squirrel climbs up one of the supporting limbs to the left of the North nest. At 34 seconds, we see the intrepid explorer make its way beneath the nest. DNF hears Lucky, but it is screened by the nest and she can’t see it. While she looks around alertly, Lucky clambers up. Oh no you don’t! DNF gives the squirrel a wingslap warning at 52 seconds and again at 1:26, chasing the squirrel away!
October 18, 2023: Close-up young eagle – https://youtu.be/deelfx1uiyg?si=yzrCo76pjjzVe7Es. A beautiful look at a lovely subadult eagle! Note the full crop – somebirdy paid attention in Eagle College!
October 17, 2023: Young eagle flies over Cranes & lands on camera – https://youtu.be/rmuLdPE16Rs?si=2FDip2PxZzN-4AIN. Exactly as the video says. The extended and extremely cool fly-in starts at 39 seconds. The eagle flies in from the right, circles around (startling the cranes), and flies in to land on the camera pole. Slow it down at 1:02 for a really nice look at the final moments of the fly-in!