Who is Mom’s beau? It’s DM2!

Like a lot of you, we’ve spent the past couple of weeks trying to figure out who Mom Decorah is spending time with. He looked like DM2. He acted like DM2. But was he really DM2? We got confirmation on October 19 when one of our camera operators got up close and personal with his left iris and captured his distinctive fleck! This mark, combined with distinctive head and facial features and his behavior with Mom around the nest, allows us to ID him as DM2 beyond the shadow of a doubt! The biometric attributes we capture with our cameras are a powerful tool for identifying eagle field marks.

So why did DM2 vanish over the summer? We had a long conversation about that when the sub-adult eagle showed in mid-July. John pointed out that 2019 was probably his first year settling down, which may have made him more inclined to wander. The early rehab/dispersal of D32 & D33 may also have affected his early absence from the valley. Brett’s research shows that eagles with no young to care for can get quite mobile within and beyond their established territory: not necessarily migrating (the regular, endogenously controlled, seasonal movement of birds between breeding and non-breeding areas), but wandering or expanding their area of use. Jim Grier added that eagles really differ in their behaviors, including fidelity to nest sites. Some individuals stay on their territories and some don’t, and some moves result from competition, fighting, or what might be called mismatching personalities, while some eagles just seem to want to move.

We don’t know why DM2 took off this summer, but we are very glad that he’s back from his vacation…and very eager to see what happens next. Thank you for watching, learning, and caring with us!

Just for clarification