News and Blogs

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s a buteo!

Red-Tailed Hawk, Credit Sophia Landis

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s a buteo! But what is a buteo? Buteos are a scientific grouping of hawks characterized by broad wings, short tails, and an overall robust build, which combine to form a bird perfectly suited for soaring. Buteos will sometimes soar for great lengths of time together in large groups called kettles, particularly during periods of migration. Have you seen a buteo before? If you’ve seen a Red-tailed Hawk, then the answer is yes! The

October 29, 2022: Day Trip to Decorah!

October 27, 2022: DM2 in N4

Story and photos by Robin Brumm The last time I went to Decorah, I saw DM2 taking sticks into a group of trees, but there were too many leaves to actually see if they were building a nest. Saturday was supposed to be nice, so I decided I would go over to Decorah again now that a lot of the leaves were gone. I got up at dark o’clock, and off I went. I drove through the hatchery when I

Birds in superstition and folklore

Happy Halloween 2022!

The ways in which we watch and learn about birds – HD cameras, high-powered spotting scopes and lenses, and DNA analyzers – are new, but our interest in birds is very old. Sacred and magical birds are common in folklore, oral traditions, and religious texts, including the Bible, the Torah, the Qur’an, and the Bhagavad-gita. It’s easy to say that ancient people lacked a global perspective and scientific knowledge, but a quick search for birds + omens shows that we

October 28, 2022: News, links, and a raptor movie marathon!

October 27, 2022: Wing hug! HD front, HM back.

Happy Fri-yay, everyone! We’ve got a regular raptor movie marathon with videos from Decorah, Decorah North, the Flyway, and the Wisconsin kestrels, a short clip that shows the nest building work we did on N1 last year, and two blogs that discuss fall activity and bald eagle egg-laying. We hope you like them as much as we did! Thank you so much to our wonderful camera operators and video makers for sharing the beauty of the world around us, and

Getting ready: Fall nestorations!

Annual Daylight Length, Decorah IA

Why are eagle couples in Decorah working on their nests and bonding right now? Among non-tropical birds, many activities (reproduction, molt, migration) are linked to daylight length. We’ve primarily discussed the photosensitive period of bird life here, when daylight lengthens, gonads start swelling, and human watchers start counting the days until eggs are laid. However, birds also have a photorefractory period that in many northern birds begins slightly prior to summer solstice in mid-June. Gonads start shrinking, a new hormonal

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