The Hatchery Maple Tree

As many of you already know, the Iowa DNR took the maple/perch tree on the hatchery grounds down on February 18. We had recommended a fall removal, but that was not possible. The DNR was compliant with federal law regarding work near an eagle’s nest, held a public meeting on the tree removal, and took a great deal of care to get the tree down and taken away as quickly as possible. RRP Board Member Dave Kester monitored the situation and was impressed by the speed and efficiency of the tree crew.

Some people expressed concern that the eagles might leave N2B. While we didn’t see Mom or DM2 for most of the day, DM2 arrived with a stick at 4:50 pm: https://youtu.be/L82nKijvnhM. Given the position of the nest in relation to the perch tree, we’re not sure whether they were responding to the tree’s removal or keeping under cover because of the cold weather. Whatever the reason, we were all happy to see him back!

Why did the DNR remove the famous maple? Several hatchery trees have been parasitized by Northern Tooth fungus (Climacodon septentrionale), which grows in the central heartwood and weakens the tree. The DNR was worried about the tree snapping and perhaps landing on a car or even a person. Here is more information about the fungus: https://www.forestfloornarrative.com/blog/2017/8/4/fungifriday-the-northern-tooth-fungus.

Long time watchers will remember that Mom and Dad lost nest N2 when the tree holding it snapped during a thunderstorm in July of 2015. Even if we hadn’t built a starter nest, they would have found another tree to rebuild in. Eagles face a lot of challenges in their lives: weather, parasites, other eagles, finding food – the list goes on. They wouldn’t have rebounded so successfully if they weren’t tough and adaptable animals. DM2 and Mom will find a new perch, although we will miss seeing them on the maple.

Instead of sharing sad photos of the tree removal – it was hard to see an old friend on the ground – I decided to share a few happy memories. Thank you for your understanding.