Fort St. Vrain Eagles and Blogs

November 30, 2022: NestFlix, News, and Photos: Decorah, Decorah North, Xcel Fort St. Vrain, and the Flyway!

November 23, 2022: HD and HM enjoy an evening meal of fishie al fresco on N1.

We’ve got a short, sweet NestFlix round up from all of our eagle nests tonight! The Decorah and Xcel Fort St. Vrain eagles were busy with nest work today, while the Norths took a break to stretch their wings and do a little bit of soaring. We hope that you enjoy these NestFlix as much as we did! Thanks so much for donating to our Giving Tuesday fundraiser yesterday! We’ll have images and links for you tomorrow. Decorah Eagles November

On Migration

September 2019: Migrating Birds on the Mississippi Flyway

At whatever moment you read these words, day or night, there are birds aloft in the skies of the Western Hemisphere, migrating. If it is spring or fall, the great pivot points of the year, then the continents are swarming with billions of traveling birds… – Living on the Wind: Across the Hemisphere with Migratory Birds We get a lot of questions about migration. Do the Decorah eagles migrate? Do our Peregrine falcons migrate? Where do they go when they

Eaglet Growth and Development: Week One

March 26, 2021: DN13 eats breakfast!

We’re writing a series of blogs about the first few weeks of an eaglet’s life. An eaglet spends roughly 75 to 80 days in the nest. For about the first half, it grows and gains weight. For about the second half, it grows flight feathers and starts developing the skills it will need post-fledge. We will focus on week one in this blog. What can we expect in the first week following hatching? Like humans, growing eaglets have developmental milestones.

First Egg at Fort St. Vrain!

This photo by Lanie Burritt shows Ma & Pa's huge nest, one of our FSV eagles perched to the right of it, the Rocky Mountains and geese flying by.

Congratulations Ma and Pa FSV! Post by Lanie Elaine Tregenza Burritt The first egg of the season arrived at the Fort St. Vrain nest on Thursday, March 3 at 5:09 pm. Bob Anderson, founder of RRP, and partner Xcel Energy installed a cam back in 2003; this nest has seen 44 successful hatches. Ma has historically laid eggs mid to late February, but last year the first egg arrived on March 4. Watchers speculate this may have had something to

Peek inside a bald eagle egg: 11 days!

Chicken embryos roughly 25% of the way to hatch

What do embryonic eagles look they look like as they develop and grow inside their eggs? Dr. Peter Sharpe from the Institute for Wildlife Studies developed a table of bald eagle embryonic development based on work done by Hamburger and Hamilton (1951). While not all bald eagle eggs hatch in 35 days, the stages of development look something like this… What happens between the third and the 11th day? When we last touched on the topic, our embryonic eagle had

What is a brood patch?

March 30, 2018: Mrs. North's brood patch

Daylight length, or photoperiod, strongly influences hormone production in birds. In the northern hemisphere, our story begins shortly after the winter solstice in December. As daylight length increases, a cascade of hormones causes birds’ gonads to swell in preparation for reproduction, egg-laying, and incubation. In this blog, we’ll discuss the role the brood patch plays in incubation and determining clutch size. How do bald eagles keep their eggs warm in subzero temperatures? They apply heat via a special area of

Why do bald eagles lay eggs in ice and snow?

Egg-laying Map

Why do the Decorah and Decorah North eagles lay eggs in ice and snow? A lot of you – especially those of you who also watch the Florida eagles – are curious about bald eagle egg timing. Wouldn’t it be better to delay egg-laying until mid-March or early April? We’ll unpack the question by starting with a few facts. An Overview of Bald Eagle Nesting Bald eagles don’t all nest at the same time. In the southeastern United States, especially

How do eagles stay warm in cold weather?

January 14, 2021: Eagles at Lock and Dam Seven on Lake Onalaska, Mississippi River

Iowa bald eagles nest in extremely cold weather. How do they stay warm?  Bald eagles maximize energy gain by foraging in groups, gorging food, and increasing the assimilation of ingested food energy. They minimize energy loss by reducing activity, seeking protective microclimates, and lowering their nocturnal body temperature. In short, eagles keep warm by using the least amount of energy to get the most amount of food. Group Foraging and Changes in Behavior All bald eagles reduce activity and seek shelter during

Where are eagles D27 and D36?

Wolf Creek Falls in Banning State Park. Photo by Robert Johnson.

Where are eagles D27 and D36? I’m delighted to report that we got postcards from both of them earlier this week! As you might recall, D27 left for Canada on July 16 – about the time that we were thinking she might be looking for a place to settle down! She’s tended to migrate north between mid-to-late May and early June, although she’s drifted later as she’s aged. Still, her mid-July departure caught us by surprise! Whatever the reason –

Update from Fort St. Vrain

The Xcel Energy Fort St. Vrain nest with little FSV44 sitting tall in a well-stocked pan-tree!

– By Lisa Levesque and Elaine Burritt Good morning everybirdie. FSV44 is 12 weeks old today. I wanted to do a small recap of this crazy, sad, happy, exciting, and educating season. In August 2020 Bill Heston reported that the nest had collapsed. John Howe, Bill, Tina Lopez, and Tina’s husband worked to rebuild this beautiful nest. At the end of January the pair showed up, there were great behavioral differences. It was realized we had a new Pa. It

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