Where have the Decorah Eagles been?

By Raptor Resource Project Director John Howe

Where have the Decorah Eagles been? We have an update for you after several weeks of observation in the vicinity of N2B and a relatively new eagle nest within what we would describe as their territory. We will start by clarifying that we are not disclosing the location of this nest at the request of the property owner. The new nest is within the typical bald eagle territorial area of up to 6 square miles. Unfortunately, it is not within view of any cameras we have near the fish hatchery.

N5: This is the fifth nest in the Decorah Eagles territory

The new Decorah Eagles nest, aka N3

Are these really the Decorah Eagles?

We have spent hours watching this nest with powerful spotting scopes and cameras. We agree, as do several of our Decorah Eagle experts, that they look like Mom and DM2. What do we base that on?

  • Their head feathers and beak shape and color are consistent with Mom and DM2.
  • When they are at the hatchery, we have not seen them at the new nest and vis-versa.
  • While our team was watching on January 7, a single male eagle perched at the hatchery bluff took off. 15 minutes later, I observed a male eagle joining the female eagle perched in a branch above the new nest. The female eagle dropped down to the nest and they worked on the nest for a bit. The two got a bit frisky and lunged beaks at one other, something we’ve often seen Mom and DM2 do.
  • And of course Mom and DM are not spending as much time at N2B, the maple tree, or roosting near N2B as they did in late 2020 and other seasons.

We believe that Mom and DM2 built a new nest within their territory and that they will most likely nest there this year, although we won’t know for sure until they lay eggs. We will continue to observe the two nests in this territory and are continuing our search of the area to rule out any other potential nest sites.

Will you be able to stream them?

That all depends on the property owners. A distant camera won’t give us the close-ups of nest life that we enjoyed at N2B, but we could install one. Long time watchers will remember that Jim Womeldorf set up a long distance camera in 2013, the year they moved to N2. However, we also need to have access to the property and a willing partner. We’re working on it, but we can’t guarantee it.

So, what does this mean for the Decorah Eagle live cam? While we wait and work on access, we will continue monitoring the new nest area and N2B. Mom Decorah will most likely decide to lay her eggs at one of these two locations, and we sure hope she chooses N2B!

If you would like to watch eagles while we wait to see what happens, please visit our Decorah North Eagle cam at https://www.raptorresource.org/birdcams/decorah-north-nest/. While I miss watching Mom and DM2, Mr. North and DNF have been very busy with nestorations and we love the diversity of wildlife we see at this nest.

Sue and Benny Bruhling first located this nest in early December. We thank them for sharing the location with us. More thanks to Robin Brumm and our camera operators for their help monitoring and ID’ing the eagles, and to our Eagle Council for sharing their invaluable expertise and knowledge.