Eaglet deaths at Decorah North

We are sorry to announce that both eaglets at the Decorah North nest died yesterday. To recap: Mrs. North laid one egg on February 25. That egg broke on March 16th, but she reclutched on April 12th, laying one egg on the 12th and another egg on the 15th. DN7 hatched on May 18th and DN8 hatched on April 20th.

Why did the eaglets die? As we learned last year at Great Spirit Bluff, blackflies carry a pathogen that overwhelms the immune systems of young birds. Today’s blackfly strike, combined with the extreme heat and humidity, was more than the eaglets could take. The North reclutch was inspirational, but we all worried that the late hatch might negatively affect the eaglets – and it did. As John pointed out, what happened at the North nest shows how important the hatch window is in the larger picture. Insect hatches that overlap the vulnerable developmental stages of eagles and falcons can have devastating effects.

Even knowing that our eagles are truly wild, it is really hard and unfair to watch them seemingly succeed, only for their eaglets to perish. Sherri expressed what all of us are feeling when she wrote: “We were given a miracle gift and got to know two eaglets who showed us their fierce and feisty nature for seven and five days…that is what I will hold onto, and the determination and dedication of these parents.” Both parents did their very best to shelter their eaglets from the gnats and the weather. We will continue to love and cherish our eagles and falcons, collect information to help us understand the challenges they face, and act on their behalf. Goodbye, DN7 and DN8 – it was wonderful to know you. A tribute video: https://youtu.be/hxyn-7Ojxq0.