We have your Nestflix! Eagles are getting busy, working on egg-cup foundations, and taking advantage of BOGO cornhusk specials at their local Nest Depots! We all wish Mom’s eye would get better but we’re relieved to see that she is still flying, perching, eating, and even bonding with ease. On the Flyway, coyotes take advantage of the ice to hunt and forage on the islands near the river’s western bank.
As always, thanks to our camera operators for catching special moments (and working so hard to get us footage of Mom’s eye!), to our videomakers for sharing them, and to you you for watching, caring, learning, and sharing. Thank you for being here.
Decorah North Eagles
1/28/20: Down by the stream – https://youtu.be/hzCQTjiKBWY. Mr. North and DNF perch by the stream before flying out. Check out DNF’s spa-time at 14:31 as she preens, scratches, shakes out her tail, and gets under her wings at 15:59. Spa-time over, Mr. North comes into the nest to do a little work. Look for some nice close-ups beginning in the 30th minute, a good look at the egg-cup’s basement at 30:57, DNF hauling in a monster stick at 31:03 (slow down to see it) and dual nestorations. She appears to be expressing an interest in bonding at about 31:46 based on what we’ve seen before: looming over Mr. North, brushing up against him, and nudging him.
Mr. North and DNF did more than bathe at the stream! As Eaglespirit’s video shows, they also bonded. I don’t know that we’ve ever seen this happen on the ground before: https://youtu.be/35_UOG3Ytn8. It happens at 5:46, but if you watch a little before that, you can see that she is displaying receptivity/interest or readiness to bond.
1/27/20: Nest test – https://youtu.be/S38qHMASLdQ. It’s early in the morning, but not too early for a nest test! Mr. North and DNF give us a cool dual fly-in at :32. They dig and move some soft materials around – it looks like there was a BOGO at Nest Depot yesterday – before he flies out. She continues to work until about 3:02, when she begins tracking something we can’t see. We get brief close-ups at 4:45 and nest-bowl testing beginning at 6:18. DNF seems quite comfortable sitting in a fluffy pile of cornstalks. She doesn’t scrape or roll much, but sits comfortably until 9:13. We get some nice close-ups at the end of the video. Listen for a black-capped chickadee in the background! You can hear its two-note call here: https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/202424931
If you are anything like me, you think of a chickadee’s alarm call – chickadee-dee-dee – when thinking of chickadees. But the fee-bee or hey-sweetie call is sung primarily by males. They begin singing it in January or February to advertise their territories and attract mates. To learn more about chickadees, follow this link: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Black-capped_Chickadee/lifehistory.
1/27/20: Deer – https://youtu.be/t9T8DxQa_Gc. A mixed-age group of bucks and does forage in the woods across the pasture and stream. Like bald eagles, wintering white-tailed deer conserve energy by decreasing activity levels, reducing metabolic needs, and finding areas with thermal cover and shelter from the wind. The west-facing hill slope is also sunny – a nice benefit for wintering deer.
1/29/19: Mom, DM2 bitey, copulation at 5:10 in – https://youtu.be/JaZCROKtJTU. DM2 is perched when Mom flies into a branch above and drops into the nest. They give each other a few gentle nips as they work on the nest before Mom flies up to the Skywalk. As we saw yesterday, Mom is usually keeping her eye shut or mostly shut, although she can open it wide. At 5:10, the two bond. DM2 flies out while Mom remains perched on the Skywalk, occasionally rubbing her eye against her upper wing. Her stillness here makes me think of DNF’s post-bonding ‘nap’ a week or so ago.
1/28/20: Mom at the Y, close-ups – https://youtu.be/PV6L7k8f54Y. Close-ups begin at 50 seconds, although go to 8:21 since the early close-ups are unfocused. Mom is still keeping her right eye shut most of the time and does not appear to open it in this video.
1/28/20: Mom closeups, right eye – https://youtu.be/OT8CikpfTMU. We see Mom open her eye several times in this video, although it is obviously sore and she keeps it shut more than she keeps it open. If you look very closely, you’ll see that she also holds it open just a tiny bit, retaining some vision while protecting it from the wind and the cold.
1/28/20: DM2 brings a stick – https://youtu.be/Ysm9OmpmSb8. DM2 flies into the nest with a long, straight stick at about 11 seconds. He quickly gets it eagle-tected into place and alternates light nestorations with checking out the crow-watch (note: if you hear crows, it’s always worth looking to see what they are cawing about. It be more crows, a hawk, an owl, a coyote, or something else interesting). We can’t see what has his attention, but he is clearly interested in something! He flies out at the end of the video.
Mississippi River Flyway
1/26/20: Coyotes – https://youtu.be/yI7dJJT_wPo. Two coyotes frisk, play, and forage on the ice. They eventually begin moving toward the west bank of the river along a semi-frozen open lead of water. The camera focuses on the lead coyote, who is well ahead of its companion. At 5:42, it stops for a roll in the snow. It eventually reaches the cover of the reeds and cattails and disappears from our site.
I’m always amazed at how well relatively large animals like coyotes can hide even in fairly populated areas. The frozen Mississippi River offers a perfect opportunity for wandering and tall vegetation offers excellent cover. It makes me wonder how many more unseen creatures live among us!
Odds and Ends
How long does it take a bald eagle to lay an egg? https://www.raptorresource.org/2020/01/29/how-long-does-it-take-a-bald-eagle-to-lay-an-egg/. A long read with a lot of information!
When A.I. gets into birding: https://aiweirdness.com/post/168537453207/when-ai-gets-into-birding. Great silly fun! Neural network trainer Janelle Shane trains a neural network to generate bird names with interesting and hilarious results!
These birds retweet alarm calls:
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2020/01/nuthatches-chickadees-communication-danger/. If I hear a crow, I pay attention. Crows often call about things I would like to see: hawks, owls, other crows, and so on. If red-breasted nuthatches hear a chickadee, they pay attention – but they don’t sound the alarm until they’ve verified there’s a problem. This was a fascinating read about two of my favorite little birds!