We have your postcards! D27 left the north and arrived back in Decorah on August 29, passing within .20 miles of her natal nest! If you check the maps, you’ll see that she spent a little time near a favorite outdoor school spot/perching place for the Decorah Eagles this summer. Was she close to D36? Not especially! Our little homebody took a trip up to Bluffton, Iowa, in the late afternoon. By the time D27 arrived, D36 was gone! Still, we’re looking forward to seeing whether or not they encounter one another, and what that interaction looks like if they do! Click the image below to enlarge and explore the eagle maps.
How about D35? Our intrepid traveler went nearly up to Brainerd, Minnesota (great fishing up that way!) before turning south and a little east. Brett let me know she was maybe 25 miles from my house, so my youngest Isaac and I picked up the Yagi from John and went looking for her yesterday! We found her in a lovely spot between Princeton and Cambridge, near a buffalo farm and not far from the Rum River, which is a major watercourse in the area. We couldn’t see her very well because she was high in the air, flying with two other eagles: another juvenile and a sub-adult that was probably around three years old. The Yagi pinged like crazy, the subadult (or possibly an unseen adult) vocalized, the three eagles circled lazily as they drifted east, and Isaac and I whooped and hollered in the ditch far below them! It was wonderful to see her flying in the company of other eagles!
Brett was curious about what the area looked like. Was there anything that might draw eagles? There are several turkey farms and one buffalo ranch in the area, which might result in some easy pickings. It is adjacent to the Rum River, a big local waterway, 30 miles west of the Saint Croix River, a feeder for the Mississippi Flyway, 31 miles east and 18 miles north of the Mississippi River, and 40 miles SE of Lake Mille Lacs. We see agriculture and flat land to the west, and lakes, rivers, and forests to the north and east – along with a whole lot of bald eagle nests based on the 2005 Minnesota DNR bald eagle survey. I don’t know how many eagles there are locally, but it makes sense that a lot of northern eagles would travel or disperse through here. I hope to survey the Rum River by boat to look for local bald eagle nests sometime this fall.
Stay safe and fly high, everyone! We wish you favorable winds, sunny blue skies, and all the fish you can hold! As always, a thousand thanks to Brett Mandernack and the staff of Eagle Valley for sharing their expertise, data, and maps. You can explore the travels of any of the eagles we’ve tracked via our interactive maps: https://www.raptorresource.org/learning-tools/eagle-map/. To view the Minnesota DNR eagle surveys, follow this link: https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/eco/nongame/projects/baldeagle_survey.html.