March 29, 2024: News and NestFlix from Decorah North and GSB

Fast-forward to a shallow stream 15,000 years ago. Suckers are making their way upstream to spawn. Suddenly, an eagle swoops down and hooks one to bring to his waiting young, who are clamoring hungrily in the nest above. Dad has food. His legacy will survive into a future he can’t imagine.

Solstice, this Easter weekend, and the arrival of this year’s first suckerfish have me thinking about spring and fall, the great pivots of the year. It fills me with hope to see the arrival of spring and new life in so many places: bald eagle nests, peregrine falcon eyries and nest boxes, the great migration on the Mississippi River, and even my own feeders, busy to the brim with migrating birds! Thank you so much for watching with us: for sharing, learning, caring, and helping to create a world with space for our amazing fellow travelers. We hope you are enjoying DN17 and DN18 as much as we are. Squeeeeeee!

Decorah North Eagles
March 29, 2024: That's a mouthful!
March 29, 2024: That’s a mouthful! DNF gets serious about feeding.

March 29, 2024: Decorah North feeding of DN17and DN18 March 29, 2024 Diction-aerie word of the day: Pantree. The nest storage locker where extra food is stowed | pan·tree. The pantree is stuffed with food, including fish, raccoon, and squirrel: a veritable bonanza of breakfish and breakfur, even if DNF doesn’t really care for raccoon: The hungry eaglets – my goodness, DNF and Mr. North, don’t you ever feed them? – turn four and five days old today, and they are hungry!

Note: so far today, DN17 and DN18 have had six feedings today, with more to come. Don’t worry about the eaglets – they are so stuffed I’m surprised they can still bonk!

March 29, 2024: The first suckerfish of the year!
March 29, 2024: The first suckerfish of the year!

March 29, 2024: Mr. North rests before delivering a huge fish to the nest Mr. North delivers a very large suckerfish to the nest! It’s big enough that he takes a rest and considers his angles before delivering it to a excited DNF. If he was a human, I think he’d mount it on the wall!

I repost ‘Watching Bald Eagles’ the first time that our eagles bring a suckerfish into the nest. There is a movement to reclassify some ‘junk fish’ because so many of them are an important part of the ecosystem, even if we don’t want to eat or catch them. Bob made an intuitive leap back in 2012 – suckerfish are the salmon run of Midwest streams and fields! – and I love visiting the Plio-pleistocene landscape of Iowa, if only in my imagination:

March 29, 2024: DN18 and DN17. I'm thinking of eagle reporter Robin Brumm's cutie patooties!
March 29, 2024: DN18 and DN17. I’m thinking of eagle reporter Robin Brumm’s cutie patooties!

March 29, 2024: Mr brings a stick, DNF not leaving yet, baby calf closeups The video opens with Mr. North pole vaulting into the nest as DNF softly vocalizes. The two sit on the nest together as DNF takes her time in giving up brooding duties. But she can only pretend not to see Mr. North for so long, and she flies out at 3:43. At 4:11, the camera operators treat us to a look an an adorable calf! It’s a little unsteady on its feet as it lays down – very young, but not just born. At 4:47, we go back to the nest, where Mr. North is preparing to brood. After an extended shimmy session – everything has to be just right! – he settles over the eaglets. Watch for DN17 to bonk Mr. North as he steps into the nest!

March 28, 2024: I love family feedings. Mr. North and DNF work together - more or less - to feed their young.
March 28, 2024: Mr. North and DNF work together – more or less – to feed their young.

March 28, 2024: A family feeding The moment is brief, but it reminds me of the bucket brigade feedings we sometimes see with new eagle parents! In 2016, we think that Mr. North was a first-time eagle parent. He would bring food to the nest and pass it to Mrs. North – his mate at the time – but didn’t initially feed his eaglets himself. More fast-forwarding – it’s 2024, and Mr. North is trying to pry DNF off the nest so he can spend time with his eaglets. Bald eagles are amazing parents!

March 26, 2024: Beautiful Bluebird perches near the North Nest The bluebird of happiness has visited the North Nest! More seriously, this is a lovely male Eastern Bluebird and we get an awesome look at it. Thank you, camera operators!

Note: I’ll make a separate post about our hatch fundraiser, but mark your calendars for April 6th if you’d like to join us for chat! If you’d like to make a donation now, follow this link:

Great Spirit Bluff

March 28, 2024: Newman chases off young banded falcon We’ve talked before about how female falcons usually chase/fight other females and males usually chase/fight males. Here’s an impressive example! The young banded falcon is still sporting all-brown plumage, which means he is right around one year old. While I don’t have site-specific information, he comes from Indiana, which means he is 200 miles or more from his natal nest. Good luck, U/09!

March 29, 2024: A young banded falcon at GSB.
March 29, 2024: A young banded falcon at GSB.

How to read and report falcon bands (but always tell me, too!): Why we band: