Message from the Director

As we open the door to 2016, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you on behalf of our Board of Directors, staff, and dedicated volunteers! You have witnessed a successful year of raptor conservation, education, and research. We are fulfilling our mission in a year filled with challenges and change.

Who could have imagined the challenges that we would face this year; first the loss of the Decorah Eagles Nest and then an even bigger loss of our Founder and Director Bob Anderson? We set some lofty goals to continue Bob’s vision. The progress we have made is due to the caliber of people that Bob attracted to RRP and their shared passion and dedication to make a difference for raptors.

Moving into 2016, we are keeping our focus on our top initiatives utilizing the expertise of our long time and newly appointed board members. I’d like to share a few details of that progress in the following updates:

Neil Rettig during N2B Build

Neil Rettig during N2B Build

Restoring the Decorah Eagle nest
I think we can safely say that Mom and Dad have accepted the starter nest (N2B) built 20 yards away from the ruins of N2! What started as our board member Neil Rettig’s idea to build a starter nest and see if the eagles would adopt it has paid off. It was amazing to watch the assembled crew of RRP Board members, staff, and volunteers work together and pull off this project. It truly is a research project and a remarkable idea. Projects like this have implications for wildlife management far beyond the Decorah eagles and show what impact focused wildlife management efforts can make. Watching this pair of eagles build their home of branches, sticks, corn husks, and grass on top of the man-made starter nest is as exciting as reality nature video can get! Check out a time lapse video of the Decorah Eagles adding to this nest:

Replacing the Decorah Eagle Cams
We started with a clean slate and replaced the Decorah Eagle nest cams and equipment. It was a planned goal that became even more important after the lightning strike that wiped out the existing cams. We upgraded the cams to High Definition (HD) and placed them in the original nest tree (N1), the new nest tree (N2B), and the backup nest (Decorah North Nest – DNN). After a half year of testing cameras, microphones, and mounting configurations, we descended on Decorah for a focused week of assembly, testing, and installation. Our RRP staff and board members again showed their expertise in assembling and installing our signature “Bird Cam in a Bag” high up into the cottonwood and oak trees of Decorah. We are pleased with the quality of the new HD video cams and microphones and excited to get up close and personal with Mom and Dad Decorah!

Kike's helmet in Decorah North Nest

Kike’s helmet in Decorah North Nest

Establishing a new bald eagle nest cam in Decorah 
Soon we will be making our Decorah Eagle backup-nest cam a reality here. The last step is connecting our ½-mile fiber optic line to the broadcasting computer system. We are so thankful that we have landowner partners at DNN and elsewhere that make what we bring to you possible. Stay tuned for a debut presentation of our new couple. We have witnessed them building on the DNN in the past month and it looks promising that they will return to the oak tree they have called home for the past several years.

Establishing a live Philippine Eagle Cam at a wild nest
We are moving forward expanding Bob’s initial RRP work with Neil Rettig and the Philippine Eagle foundation and are one step closer to the dream of broadcasting a wild Philippine Eagle (PE) nest cam. We hope you share our excitement about the monumental impact we can make on the future of this amazing eagle that lives only in portions of the remaining forests of the Philippines! Neil and his wife Laura Johnson (two of our board members) have led our efforts and are even more invested over the past several years capturing precious video footage of the Philippine Eagle. They have collaborated with Cornell Lab of Ornithology to produce future documentary footage of the Philippine Eagle and we are excited to partner with Cornell on a scouting effort to produce a live PE cam in the Philippine forests. It is hard to describe the beauty of this unique eagle and, although it will be a challenge to install nest cams in the Philippines, we are committed to bringing a PE cam on-line for the world to see and appreciate. Imagine the impact this project will have in educating the Philippine people and the world about an amazing creature that is facing an uncertain future. Just like Bob’s Peregrine falcon recovery work, this project could be a catalyst for the next great conservation success! For more about this project, please watch the video below.

These are only some of the projects on our plate for 2016. We continue to collaborate with our raptor monitoring partners including the unique Peregrine Falcon recovery and monitoring partnership with power plants, grain handling facilities, and river bluff landowners. We are also excited to continue projects with Dairyland Power, Seneca Nation of Indians, and K-12 classrooms across the country. One of our biggest success stories and part of Bob Anderson’s legacy is how the raptor cams provide valued education and awareness to those who cannot get outdoors, and how they promote the enjoyment and wonder of the natural world. We continue to focus on the next generation by engaging our youth to build their connection with the natural world through raptors. Thanks to our chat moderators, teachers, and our wonderful webmaster Amy Ries who keep us closely connected. They spend countless hours bringing this all to you each day through Ustream, Facebook, and our recently updated web site at

Thanks to all of you for your past and present support as we start 2016 with a lot of momentum! How much we can accomplish depends on your continued attention and support. You can help us move forward by spreading the word and letting us know of educational outreach, funding and raptor research opportunities.

John Howe
Raptor Resource Project Director