November 22: Bald Eagle Spa Day and More!

It’s hard for a bald eagle to relax and enjoy a little spa time when other eagles keep barging in on it. But that didn’t stop these eagles from trying! I love their beautiful floating feathers and the drops of water that roll down their backs as they realign and clean their feathers of dust, dirt, and parasites to keep them in tip-top shape. Everybirdy looks sharper after a little feather care!

Feathers are essential to the health and survival of birds: beautifully complex structures that require almost continuous care. They need to be cleaned, straightened, and aligned to protect their wearers from the elements, keep parasites from lodging in and beneath them, and yield a streamlined flight. They also play an important social role, since they advertise health and fitness to mates and rivals, and may cement communal or family bonds in some avian species. So how much time do bald eagles and other birds spend in self-maintenance behaviors like preening and bathing? Several studies have found that birds generally spend over eight hours a day preening, although self care is affected by food scarcity (birds typically spend less time preening when food is scarce) and stress levels (absent the need to find food, birds typically spend more time preening when they are in stressful situations). Bathe while you can, eagles – you’ll be skating on ice just a few short weeks from now.

Looking for more videos? We have them below! Thanks to our awesome camera operators and videomakers for finding such special moments and to all of you for watching, sharing, learning, and especially for caring! It’s a great time to be watching eagles and the Flyway.

Mississippi Flyway

November 20, 2023: Adult BE close-ups Exactly as the video says! This is a lovely look at an adult bald eagle, although I had to laugh at its expression at 9:09 into the video. I can’t decide if this is its ‘You lookin’ at me?’ face or its ‘I AM smiling!’ face. either way, it’s quite a look!

November 18, 2023: Sandhill Crane taking a bath Bald eagles aren’t the only ones taking a little me time! Studies on multiple species have shown that birds spend an average of over 9% of each day on maintenance behaviors like preening and bathing.

November 18, 2023: Eagle with reflection I am a sucker for reflection videos and this one is beautiful!

Decorah North Eagles

November 19, 2023: DNF & Mr, gorgeous couple in great light Another really lovely video! I enjoyed the whole thing, but especially the giant pile of fluff in the nest. As we all know, once nest activities start, it’s never too early to get the nursery in tip-top shape. We’re so happy to see them working on it!