Sunday, July 05, 2015

Decorah Eagle Nest Sightings

7-4-15 ~ News from the field – "Independence"
By David and Ann Lynch
Photo by Lynch Photography
As Darlene and Glenn Miller stated, what a difference a year makes. At this time last year, we were observing eaglets FOUR and INDY at the Decorah Yard Waste Facility, which is over a mile away from the Hatchery and the nest area. In 2015, we have been treated to spectacular weather and the sight of juvenile eagles that are busy learning their eagle lessons in and around the Decorah Fish Hatchery and high in the sky!
The last couple of days have been slow as far as activity from the eagle family, which is great news for the eagles, but bad news for those of us who are trying to watch and photograph. On each of the last two days, all three of the eaglets have been spotted just after dawn near the original N1 nest and Dad Decorah has been observed fishing very early to feed the hungry mouths. However, most of this action is taking place in low light and foggy conditions, so photographs are hard to come by. By mid-morning, the eaglets are being observed in the original N1 Cottonwood Tree and as far as a mile away in and around the farms that surround the hatchery.
The afternoons here in Decorah grow hot and hazy, partly due to the smoke from the massive wildfires occurring in Canada, which keeps eagle activity to a minimum, but the juvenile “screes” can be heard when boredom sets in or hunger begins to call.
Another thing we have noticed this year is the abundance of song birds, which were sadly lacking in 2014. Without the freezing cold, heavy rains and storms we had last year, the smaller birds have flourished (and the gnats have not!). The great number of song birds also includes an explosion in the population of Red-winged Blackbirds, which are not fond of our eagle family. Virtually every raptor in North America are nest predators of Red-winged Blackbirds. Even the small Saw Whet Owl, which is scarcely larger than a Blackbird, has been known to predate on the eggs and nestlings. This has caused the Blackbirds to adapt in several different ways, including nesting over water and nesting in loose, but large colonies. In these colonies, the males can then work together to stave off a predator acting as sentries and by “mobbing” a potential predator. We have seen the Decorah eaglets being “mobbed” almost every time they fly around the hatchery or the trout stream area, and this points to a healthy population of Red-winged Blackbirds that are very busy nesting. The Red-winged Blackbirds are nothing more than a nuisance to the eagles, so there is no need for us to worry about their behavior toward our eagle family! So, next time you see this behavior, remember that the Blackbirds are just doing their best to raise a family, just like our eagle family has done since February!
During the Decorah evenings, the activity level increases as the temperatures drop a bit. We have watched Dad Decorah fishing in both the hatchery retention pond and in the fish runs (where they raise the trout) each evening, making spectacular turns and dives, mere feet above the eagle watchers’ heads! He is a master fisherman. Most nights, Dad has been seen catching 3-5 fish in a matter of minutes, being met by the screes of delight from the eaglets. As the eaglets progress with their flying lessons, they are now seen chasing Dad as he delivers dinner, just as we have seen in other years. We are very happy to not be watching a pile of mulch in 2015!
It’s also been FANtastic to see so many wonderful folks at the Hatchery and around the nest area this year. Another drastic and welcomed change from last year. Everyone has been respectful and so excited to see the Eagle Family. For many, this has been their first visit to Decorah and the Hatchery area to view the eagles. What a spectacular year for their first visit given the perfect weather and expected eaglet behavior. Fans are still traveling from far and wide, but many Decorah “Freshmen” are from Iowa but have not made the trip to Decorah before now. Many of the experienced Decorah Eagle followers have been more than glad to provide “tours” of the area, educating about the eagles, the Decorah area and RRP- a true testament to their devotion and their kind natures and giving hearts. We have truly all reunited as an extended family and it has seemed to do our spirits well.
As a special treat, “Little Bit” (the miniature horse from the farm behind the N1 nest) made an appearance at the hatchery with his owner and family, going out for an evening stroll and ride for the grandkids. We are truly in our version of Utopia sitting on a beautiful lawn with a Bald Eagle sitting over our head in a beautiful maple tree and a gorgeous steel-gray mini-horse walking by with a small child on his back taking its first ride, all with the magnificent fish hatchery in the background bustling with excited children and families.
With today being July 4th, the day that the United States of America gained its independence, we can draw similarities to the newly acquired independence of the Decorah eaglets. The sight of a soaring Bald Eagle in America reminds its citizens of the true freedom we have, as we imagine the freedom that is felt while jumping from the nest, knowing that your body is built for the sky. In 1782, the Bald Eagle was adopted as the symbol on the Great Seal of the United States, and as the national bird AND national animal. On July 4, 1776, the United States gained its independence as a nation, and on July 4, 2015, we watch as the eaglets have signed their own “Declaration of Independence”. The picture shown here is of Decorah Dad (landing) and Mom (perching) in their favorite Maple Tree at the hatchery, and we think it is a great representation of the word “Freedom”.
We wrote this field report for all of you tonight while seated under the Maple Tree pictured here, while the eaglets came and went, and with the parents flying around the nest and hatchery area, thinking of just how lucky we are to be able to witness these scenes, in the heart of America, on our Independence Day.
 

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Who Needs A New Headband?

I'm not much of a headband wearer because I don't like the way it hurts my head but I would definitely wear these, the hardest part would be picking the fabric.

http://land.craftygeminicreates.com/reversible-headbands/?utm_source=mqcncgc&utm_medium=lp&utm_campaign=tcgc001

Calvin Coolidge

Family Research Council's photo.

Friday, July 03, 2015

Happy 4th

I know I am a day early but the RRP posted this on facebook, so I wish you a safe 4th of July. May we remember why it is so important to us as Americans.

July 4th ~ Independence Day
In the United States we commemorate Independence Day, July 4th, as a national holiday, and are reminded on this day that in 1776 the Declaration of Independence was signed.
As we reflect on that recognition, we are once again reminded of the Bald Eagle, the symbol of the United States of America. Bald eagles represent strength and courage, beauty and inspiration. We are forever in awe of what we have learned and admired through our eagle cams abou...t our nation's symbol.
On behalf of all of us at RRP, we'd like to thank all of you for your wonderful support toward our research and work, and for those celebrating the Holiday, may it be a safe one. Please remember pets and wildlife if you will celebrate the 4th of July with fireworks, and pick up all firework debris that birds or other animals could ingest, and be mindful of fire hazards in your area.
Thanks to our RaptorResource Mod for creating this beautiful holiday graphic of Mom & Dad Decorah.


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Depression

I try not  to delve into dark things here because well they are dark and the world is depressing enough.  Yesterday there was a posting on Facebook from Crochet Crowd about a crochet designer who took her own life.  I never heard of her but still it is sad that one felt they could no longer live with the demons in their head.  My mom's neighbors daughter-in-law took her life over the weekend for the same reason.  Our beloved weatherman Don Harman took his life a couple years ago for the same reason. 

The article is here to peruse if you wish:  http://www.crochetconcupiscence.com/2015/06/mandalasformarinke-crochet-project-in-memory-of-wink-from-a-creative-being/

 They are asking for each of use to make a mandala and send it in.  Read the article to see what will happen after they receive all the manadalas.  I have decided to participate and use this pattern:   http://www.acreativebeing.com/2013/04/24/i-love-holland/

Monday, June 29, 2015

Dead Camera

The Decorah area got hit with some severe lightning a few days ago.  Ever since the camera for the nests have been down, and as much as Bob Anderson and crew tried to fix it, it is no more for now.  Since the eagles are still using the nests they can not get up in the nest to fix things, so for now we have to rely on reports from those on the ground with facebook posts.  Meanwhile we can all get back to cleaning house, etc until the fall.

From RRP:

Bob did his absolute best, but the camera system is damaged beyond our ability to repair it. We will be installing new equipment this fall, so look for us to return sometime in October or November. In the meantime, we will post updates and information here, and chat will be open at 8-9 AM, 1-2 PM and 7-8 PM CDT

Sunday, June 28, 2015

SQUEEEEEE ALERT!

http://www.littlecottonrabbits.typepad.co.uk/

This morning Little Cotton Rabbits introduced her latest knitted toy, a boy and girl cat.  I have made her bunnies and posted them here a few months ago.  I have the fox pattern and have started on the dress for Mrs Fox but she will be put aside while I start on the cats.  Her patterns are cheap compared to others and the detail:  well 20 pages of step by step directions with pictures, they almost knit themselves.  She has elephants, monkeys, hedgehogs, and mice as well.  My goal is to someday make them all and have a menagerie with interchangeable clothes.  There is also a pattern for 12 sweaters and 12 dresses.  Go get yourself a pattern and have fun while your animal comes to life.  The first bunny took about 40 hours but the 2nd one took about 14.  Once you get the hang of her patterns you can just walk through them and voila you have a new toy.

Off to find yarn for my kitties, see you soon with a finished pair of kitties. I am doing my girl in black and white as my girls are black and white and my boy in gray as my tom was gray.