We know that you are all anxiously awaiting news, and we’re no different as we wait for progress reports from our many wonderful volunteers and supporting agencies. Here’s what we know:
At Decorah North … Our cams reverted to highlights this morning as we tried to troubleshoot and do what we could to find a fix for our PTZ nest cams there. The efforts were unsuccessful and will result in a site visit, and unfortunately, that will have to wait until camera maintenance time later when we will not disturb the eagles. We will continue to use the Pasture Cam to monitor. While the field of vision is limited and is not equipped with a microphone at least it will still give us a window into the North Nest Territory and grab what glimpses we can of activity there.
DN9 … Board Director and master falcon bander and handler David Kester was at the nest earlier and was able to visually assess DN9. She/he was found in the same location at the stream bank and was captured fairly easily. David noted that the eaglet, while spunky, was riddled with bites, was slightly underweight, with pale mouth tissue which can point to anemia and a similar condition found in D33. An immediate decision was made to secure DN9, and she was hooded with ease and brought to Decorah for further evaluation and with DNR assistance. A representative from SOAR was already planning to meet with DNR part way for the transfer of an injured Red Tail Hawk, so it was decided to have DN9 transported immediately to begin care. Some further assessment indicated that DN9 also had flight feathers still sheathed and underformed, and the eaglet was dehydrated.
We’ve been asked why DN9 was left in the pasture yesterday and not taken in for care immediately. We had RRP personnel close by and they were able to immediately confirm visually that there seemed to be no injury to prevent wingflapping or mobility and since the parents were actively defending their offspring the decision was made to leave DN9 in their care. We continued to watch via cam and were surprised at DN9 not only meeting a few of the landowner’s cows but had the instinct and ability to puff up, mantle, present his/her most threatening wing extensions and then retreat to a safer space. It was also nice to see the parents fly low and slow over the creek and one parent down there with the eaglet for a bit. We already had planned for another on-site visit for DN9 today and were glad those plans were in place after receiving the status report of D33’s condition and feeling that the unprecedented black fly infestation that is plaguing Iowa would have similarly affected DN9. All wildlife seems to be affected, and we are learning now that DNR Fishery Stocking personnel are being bitten while stocking streams and our own search volunteers are too even slathered in bug repellent.
As of this update, DN9 is now en route to SOAR for further veterinary examination and we will provide any additional findings when they are released. We will not be able to answer any speculative questions and hope that you understand we simply will not guess on something that is unknown.
At Decorah Hatchery … The search for D32 continues, as well as some volunteers, tasked with observing the parents and trying to follow flight paths to pinpoint a possible location of care. Decorah Fish Hatchery personnel are also trying to track Mom Decorah and DM2’s fish catches and see where they fly off. We have no further updates at this point except to say that we are trying to remain hopefully optimistic that D32 can be located soon with a successful outcome.
As for D33 … who is presently at SOAR getting some relief and care, we have no other news yet, but will be sharing any update that is posted to our Facebook page.
We sincerely appreciate everyone’s kind comments regarding our eaglets and our efforts. We are trying to keep the updates timely, but our priority remains eagles first and information as it can come without slowing the search and recovery process. With thank you for your understanding and patience during a particularly stressful time for all of us.