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Over Easy: Decorah Eagles 2013 and Arctic Updates

The Decorah Eagles

A bald eagle

The Decorah Eagles use the Wi-Fi in their auxiliary nest to check in on the Over Easy thread.

Although the Decorah Bald Eagle Livecam is up and running, we may not be able to watch the Decorah pair this season because they have built an auxiliary nest that is outside the camera’s view. “That’s what eagles do,” said Bob Anderson, of the Raptor Resource Project. “They build auxiliary nests.”

They pair will choose one of the nests in the next couple of weeks. More here, where Raptor Resource adds, “We would really like Mom and Dad to use the nest they have occupied for so long, but we cannot and will not interfere if they decide to use the new nest. As we said in an earlier post on intervention, their lives are a gift we have been privileged to share. We can only hope we’ll get another chance in 2013.”

Last season was both joyful and heartbreaking for the Decorah Eagles. The pair, together since 2007 and using a nest 80 feet high near a fish hatchery in Decorah, Iowa, had three chicks last year, D12, D13 and D14. Tragically, D12 and D14 were both electrocuted. The body of the oldest eaglet (D12) was found in July, 2012. D14, the only eaglet fitted with a transmitter was found in November, 2012, when the transmitter showed no movement.

“Unfortunately, a federal study done in the 1990s identified impact injuries, poisoning, gunshot and electrocution as the top four sources of bald eagle mortality,” said Anderson. D14’s body will be sent to the National Eagle Repository, where his feathers and other parts will be distributed for use in Native American religious ceremonies. Eaglet D13’s whereabouts are unknown.

Some efforts to advocate for bird safe power poles and protect eagles and other birds from electrocution:

Raptor Resource Project Blog Bird Safe Power Poles

Avian Power Line Interaction Committee (APLIC)

How Protection Devices Work

Raptor Resource Project Blog (with Annual Report for 2012 and updates for all of the birds)

The Arctic

You may want to come back when you have 15 minutes, and watch this haunting but informative short film, to understand some history about climate change and Geopolitics – North from Studiocanoe on Vimeo:

Svalbard is an archipelago high within the Arctic Circle. The largest of its islands is called Spitsbergen, meaning “pointed mountains.” In 1920 a treaty known as the Svalbard Act was signed by several nations recognising Norwegian sovereignty over the islands, and declaring the whole region a demilitarized zone.

This is a short film about how Svalbard, over the course of recent history, became increasingly linked to developments in climate science, and climate change. Much of the footage was shot whilst on residency in the Arctic Circle in 2010.

It is brief for a subject so large, and lacks the detail of key facts and figures that would provide a much better understanding of the current consensus on climate. Then again, you may perhaps feel it has too many numbers already. It is my hope that regardless of what you make of the content, you will find it beautiful to watch.


Arctic sea ice extent for December 2012. To follow Arctic sea ice conditions, graphics and analysis, go here. Also, NASA here.

The Norwegian Climate and Pollution Agency warns “Don’t drill along border to Russia”

To read in detail about critical High North geopolitics, policy developments and circumpolar relations, please visit the Arctic Yearbook 2012. The Arctic Council website explains, “The Arctic Yearbook is an international and interdisciplinary peer-reviewed publication which is published online.” The 2012 Yearbook details politics, energy, military, governance, environment, climate and science, as in these academic articles related to the environment:

The Arctic Environment – From Low to High Politics by Annika E. Nilsson

By looking at past and current ‘politics of scale’, the article discusses what is realistic to expect from pan-Arctic environmental governance, and how the emerging global and regional geopolitics may affect the environmental domain.

Thawing Ice and French Foreign Policy: A Preliminary Assessment by Joël Plouffe

Climate change is bringing non-Arctic states closer to the Arctic. For France, thawing ice and increased human activities in the circumpolar north have initiated an ‘unofficial’ but discernable reevaluation of how Paris looks at and relates to the Arctic.

25 Years of Arctic Environmental Agency: Changing Issues and Power Relations by Andréa Finger-Stich and Matthias Finger

With climate warming, paradoxically, the Arctic is not only a victim of change but has become a key actor in environmental change, with melting ice opening it up to intense fossil fuel and mineral resource exploitation. Who are the actors who will decide whether, to what extent and how these resources will be exploited?


From FDL’s own fantastic WeatherDem, in case you missed his post:
State of Polar Sea Ice – January 2013: Arctic Below and Antarctic Above Normal

UK seeks to water down Arctic oil drilling proposals
Leaked documents reveal the government has sought to change proposals that could prevent deepsea drilling operations.

Photo by Pen Waggener released under a Creative Commons license.

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