Hatch Celebration, #EagleNation

If you are like us, you’re having some days when you feel like everything will be okay, and some days when you are worried. Together, we are strong. The pleasure we get from our nests, the comfort we get from connecting with others, and the kindness we bring to one another all hold great potential to calm and heal. Every day, we are grateful that you watch, learn, share, and especially that you care.

We are celebrating our hatches at Decorah and Decorah North today with a special daylong chat on our website. We’d love to hear from you on our Facebook page: favorite memories, favorite artworks, favorite poems, or anything else that you associate with the Decorah or Decorah North Eagles. Times are tough, so let’s get together – remotely, of course – and have a party!

A sincere thank you to everyone who has made a donation in the midst of a really hard time. Interested in helping? If you can, make a gift – it doesn’t need to be large – to support our work. Whenever you watch our streams, chat with our volunteers, use our lesson plans, or do something for birds in your own life, you are seeing your gift in action.

Not able to make a gift? We understand. Not everyone can and it’s one of the reasons we’ve always offered our streams free of charge. The eagles, falcons, and Flyway birds are there for everyone! If our birds brighten your day, share them with friends and family. If you’d like to connect with other people who love bald eagles and other birds of prey, join the chats on our website, follow us on Facebook, check out Explore.org, and come say ‘Hi’ on Twitter. If there are any particular updates you are interested in reading, please let us know – we always like to hear from you. We may be distant, but we don’t need to be lonely.

Our promise to you – we will be guided by our vision, as we have been for 32 years: to deepen the connection between people and the natural world, sustaining joy and strengthening bonds across species and across generations. Your gifts will fulfill our mission: to preserve and strengthen raptor populations, expand participation in raptor conservation, and educate people around the world about raptors and their habitats. Whatever this year brings, we will not stop serving as a resource for raptors and people. We will continue to share our streams, offer free lesson plans and curriculum, and advocate for birds of prey. We are here for you and for them. Again, thank you so much for watching, sharing, learning, and especially for caring.

You already know that we use your donations to keep our streams running, operate research programs, and advocate for birds of prey. If you’d like to see the nuts and bolts of our budget, read on!

In 2019, our annual expenses hovered around $312,000. They broke down like this:

  • Staff and contractor compensation cost around $185,000. We can’t do what we do without people on deck. We pay for a director, staff and contractors, an ace climber and camera installer, two master banders, and interns and banding station attendants. We are committed to paying a fair wage for work, which means that everyone we contract with is compensated at a living wage or better. Director John and Bob before him wouldn’t have it any other way.
  • Camera equipment and IT expenses – cameras, microphones, cables, encoders, software, licensing fees, website costs, and so on – cost around $61,500. We’ve learned a lot from our breathtaking HD and 4K cameras, but they aren’t cheap. Software licensing and IT expenses continue to rise as we bring more camera operators on and do all we can to make sure that our website and streams are watchable on a variety of devices, secure, encrypted, and always up.
  • Office and field supplies – paper, printer expenses, new ropes, slings, rappelling tools, hardware, zip ties, screws, silicon gel, rope bags, harnesses, lumber, paint, tape, bands, banding equipment, and trapping equipment – cost about $11,000.
  • Office and land rental fees cost $7,500.
  • We can’t work or drive the company vehicle without insurance! Although it isn’t nearly as exciting a topic as eagles or falcons, insurance cost $1,300. Other things that go into the necessary-but-ho-hum category include vehicle expenses ($4,500), fundraising fees and gifts ($9,000), accounting ($4,000), and postage and delivery ($3,000).
  • Travel and meetings cost us $8,000. This number would be much higher if John, Amy, and Dave didn’t donate a significant amount of their travel. Although we don’t usually go too far from home, we put a lot of miles on during banding and camera season.
  • Printing and copying isn’t cheap! We spent around $8,000 in 2019. That includes our newsletters, thank you letters and envelopes, and any printing related to talks, events, and presentations.
  • And finally, grants and equipment donations worth $10,000 to partners, students, and researchers, including:
    – Osprey monitoring and research in Minnesota
    – Student travel grants
    – Student research stipends
    – Equipment donations to other organizations involved in camera-based research