Story and photos by Robin Brumm
I got up at Dark O’clock to head to Decorah. It had been a week since the camera went down and I wanted to see if D36 was still around, and I was going to meet a friend there. When I got to the hatchery, Mom was on the new maple tree. My friend said she had heard squeeing and saw a juvie fly to the southwest before I got there, but she wasn’t able to tell if there was a transmitter or not. I took a few pictures of Mom and then we walked back toward the stream to see if, by chance, there was a juvie perched back in the pines or other trees behind the hatchery. We didn’t find anybirdy so we walked back up toward the maple and noticed Mom was gone! Now, where did she go?? We looked around and searched the bluffs and found her in a cottonwood tree at the base of the bluff to the east of the retention pond. That is starting to be a favorite perch spot for her and DM2. A few day trips ago, DM2 brought a fish to that tree for D36.
While Mom was perched near the bluff, we decided to go check out the trees along the trail near the cow farm to the west of the hatchery. We were walking down the trail and looked up to the top of a dead tree, and there was a juvie! I quickly got a few pictures and then grabbed my binoculars and looked for a backpack … Nope, no backpack … and the commissure looked straight. The juvie then flew off and landed in a tree a little further down the trail. This time we had a good view of the back and tail. The tail looked dark, with no white blotches. Hmmm.. I whispered and asked it if it would happen to be D34, and s/he wouldn’t answer me!! Too bad there is no way to know for sure, but this little sweetie looked like somebirdie I know, and s/he certainly felt very comfy in family-favorite perches! A few minutes later, a runner ran down the trail past the tree where the juvie was perched, and off it flew.
We went back to the hatchery and Mom was still perched in the cottonwood tree near the bluff. It didn’t seem like she was interested in going anywhere, so we decided to go for a drive and see if we could find any eagles. I knew that D36 had been up near the Bluffton area, so we decided to go see if we could find him. We got to the area and saw a juvie perched in the tree. I was so excited, but I got a few pictures and did not see a backpack. Suddenly, an adult flew from behind some branches and flew at another young eagle, also hidden by some branches, and flushed him out of the tree. I hadn’t seen either the adult or other young eagle until the adult flew. The young eagle flew up and soared over the bluff trees and eventually the Juvie perched in the tree flew off after the other young eagle. They both soared around the bluff trees for a while until they disappeared. I looked at my photos of the young eagle and to my surprise, it had a backpack! D36, was that you? I asked Amy if she had any recent coordinates of D36, and she was able to confirm that D36 was in that area at the time I was there and got the picture! Yay! It was good to see him in an area other than the hatchery, and also good to see he had found a friend.
Since D36 and his new friend both flew off and the adult eagle was now hidden behind some branches, we decided to head back to the hatchery to see if anybirdy was there. Mom had flown off and we didn’t see anyone in any of the favorite perch places. We were going to go back down the trail but first went to put some trash in the dumpster. We looked up at the pine trees behind the hatchery offices and saw a juvie without a backpack! D34, is that you? GAH … no answer! Remind me to hand out name tags next year!! Whoever it was, It perched in that tree for quite a while and then flew off into the sky and started soaring with a turkey vulture or two. It circled around the area and got higher and higher until it could no longer be seen.
By that time it was late afternoon and I needed to head home. It is always hard to leave Decorah. It is my calm and happy place, and it is sad to think that the Juvie I spotted will most likely be gone the next time I am able to go back, but it is also a good thing that they are out on their own, flying and soaring high and making friends. Stay safe sweeties!
RRP greatly appreciates Robin’s generosity in sharing her photos and reminds you they are copyrighted and may not be downloaded without her express written permission.
Robin’s photo link: