Mom or Dad?

Question #1: Is this Mom or Dad?

Mom or Dad?
This is Mom! ID can be tricky when they are soaking wet, but her deep brow is still visible.

Question #2: Is this Mom or Dad?

Mom or Dad?
This is Dad! In addition to his recognizable facial features (shallow brow and whiter head), Dad often nibbles at this part of the cottonwood. Cottonwoods have deeply grooved, rough bark. We think he is trying to reduce and smooth it so the bark doesn't snag their feathers. While it takes some time to gather information about who does what at any given nest, behavior can be a very useful identification tool.

Question #3: Who is who? Identify Mom and Dad Decorah!

Who is who?
Dad is incubating eggs and Mom is standing! Both male and female eagles incubate eggs, although female eagles spend more time incubating eggs than males do. ID can be tricky under IR light, but Mom's deeper brow is clearly visible in this photo.

Question #4: Is this Mom or Dad?

Mom or Dad?
This is Dad. When we can't ID by size, we use other clues. Dad has a shallower brow and white head than Mom.

Question #5: Who is who? Identify Mom and Dad Decorah!

Who is who?
Mom is in front debarking a stick. Dad is in back peering over the edge of the nest. Both Mom and Dad trim and debark sticks. Trimming away small twigs makes sticks smoother and easier to handle and place. Debarking also smooths them and makes them less susceptible to rot.

Question #6: Who is who? Identify Mom and Dad Decorah!

Who is who?
Dad is on the left and Mom is on the right! While size can be deceptive on camera, this Valentine's greeting clearly shows the difference between the two. Female birds of prey are roughly a third larger than male birds of prey.

Question #7: Is this Mom or Dad?

Mom or Dad?
This is Mom! She has a deeper brow than Dad, grey 'eyeshadow', larger lores (the area between her eye and beak) than Dad, and scattered dark head feathers (Dad's head is snowy white).

Question #8: Who is who? Identify Mom and Dad Decorah!

Who is who?
Mom is in front and Dad is in back. Both male and female eagles will defend the nest if they perceive a threat. Mom is issuing warning vocals to something we can't see!

Question #9: Who is who? Identify Mom and Dad Decorah!

Mom or Dad?
The difference in their facial features tell us that Dad is in front and Mom is in back. Brow size and grey 'eyeshadow' are excellent ID tools at the Decorah nest.

Question #10: Is this Mom or Dad?

Mom or Dad?
This is Dad! Mods have to be able to ID on the fly and at a distance. Dad's sleeker, whiter head is a giveaway.

Question #11: Who is who? Identify Mom and Dad Decorah!

Who is who?
Dad is on the left and Mom is on the right. ID is a bit tricky here, since the light is washing out her brow and accenting his. But she is visibly larger and Dad is much more likely to be laying down in the nest this time of the year. Once again, behavior helps ID our eagles!