5-6-18 ~ Day Trip to Decorah
Story, photos & video by Robin Brumm
Sunday was supposed to be a perfect day, sunny with an occasional cloud floating by, and temperatures in the low 70’s. Hmm what should I do? Yep, off to Decorah I went. I drove up to the hatchery and automatically looked to the maple tree. It was a sad to not see Dad perched there, but I know Mom, the eaglets, myself, and all their followers now have a new normal to get used to. So, I took a deep breath and headed toward N2B. Mom was perched in a tree near the nest, but before I could turn on my camera she flew off. I grabbed my camera, extra battery and binoculars and headed down the trail to the nest. The eaglets must have been sleeping because I couldn’t see anything from the trail, so I decided to head up the road a little ways to see if I could see them from a higher view spot. I looked through my binoculars and saw they were sitting up and I could see them just fine from there. Because it is further, the pictures turn out a little fuzzy, but that didn’t stop me from taking several… okay, hundreds of photos! It was so fun watching them trudge around the nest learning to use their new feet!! As I was snapping photos of the eaglets, I heard a shriek from behind me. I turned and saw Mom and UME come zooming in, circling around the area before landing on the skywalk. They perched there for awhile and then called out, and flew to the maple tree. I didn’t see why they were on alert, but they quickly flew off the maple and I noticed they were chasing a third eagle that was flying through the area. Mom quickly flew back to the nest and UME flew after the third eagle until it flew out of the area.
After about an hour, UME came back and perched above the nest. He was there for quite a while but eventually flew off to the west. A while later Mom flew off and circled over the bluff. She flew back toward the nest, circled around a couple of times and landed in the nest. I think she needed a fly about to stretch her wings. After about an hour of taking photos of Mom and the eaglets, UME flew back in and landed on the skywalk. A short time later, both Mom and UME took off soaring together. They circled around above the nest, and then few off toward the west. About an hour later they came back with a friend! So far, every time they’ve come back, I’ve heard them coming. I think UME is very vocal and screes while he flies. lol. He reminds me of the juveniles once they fledge! You can always hear them before you see them! I’m not sure if the third eagle was the same one as earlier, or if it was a different one. Mom and UME landed but they immediately took off again after the third eagle. All three eagles were flying, and at first it looked like they were just flying together but UME started to chase the third eagle off and was using its wings to bat or bump into the third eagle. Eventually, Mom flew back to the nest and UME escorted the third eagle out of the area, then circled back and disappeared behind the grove of trees.
Finally, things calmed down a little bit, and by this time I had been there later than I was planning so I decided to head for home. I wanted to check on the Bobway eagles on the way. For those of you who don’t know, several years ago, Bob Anderson, founder of RRP, told me about a back roads route to go home. I always say I’m going home the Bobway. There is a large eagle’s nest on that route, and I call them the Bobway eagles. I stopped to check on them and noticed that a parent was feeding on the nest. A couple of minutes after I got there, the parent flew to a nearby branch and I saw 2 eaglets standing on the nest. They appear to be a week or two older than our Decorah eaglets. It’s fun to be able to check on them on the way home, and I always smile when I tell the story of how they got their name.
As I drove home, I thought about how exciting it is to see the eaglets from the ground. I was still able to tell them apart, but I’m guessing the next time I go to Decorah, I won’t be able to tell which one is which. They grow so fast! I’m pretty sure that every time they stretch they grow a little bit more! If I remember correctly, the saying is “3 inches & 3 ounces to 3 feet in 3 months”… talk about a growth spurt! I’m hoping next time they will be big enough so I will be able to get some decent photos from the trail.
RRP greatly appreciates Robin’s generosity in sharing her photos and reminds you they are copyrighted and may not be downloaded without her express written permission.
* Photo above: D30, D31, D29 & Mom
photo link: http://robinbrumm.zenfolio.com/p709899888
3 eagles: https://youtu.be/6AbVPNS2oio
Mom & UME flying: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubdjxaFfVrI