Story and photos by Robin Brumm
I spent Memorial weekend with the Decorah eagles. Since it was a multi-day trip, I will spare you a 3-page report, and just tell you a few of my favorite things.
On the first day I was there, I was sitting talking to Mom and the eaglets, because what else is there to do??!! Too bad they couldn’t hear me since I was so far away! As I was watching, Mom jumped up, spread her wings, and flew off the nest. She flew right toward me! I held my breath as she flew over! I felt like I could reach up and touch her, but I am sure she was much higher than it seemed. After she flew over, I realized I was still holding my breath! Mom circled around the nest area for quite a while until she circled up so high I could no longer see her.
May 2021: The Tree Amigos
When I was watching the nest, there was usually one or both parents perched nearby. I think I saw DM2 more last weekend than I have the last 2 1/2 years. DM2 was often perched on nearby trees for several hours of the day and would occasionally bring in a fish or prey. He would go on fly abouts when Mom came back to the nest, but would show up a while later and perch in a nearby tree. He seems like such a devoted and nurturing partner and parent. Mom is often at the hatchery in the morning and evenings and will bring fish back to the nest. She sat in the nest with the eaglets during one of the afternoons I was there… and yes, she got bonked several times in the head by some wings, so I’m pretty sure that is why the parents spend more time perched in the nearby trees, lol.
May 2021: A nest full of wings!
The eaglets were very active while I was there. It was rare that all three were laying down at the same time. At least one or two were usually standing up. There was lots of wingercising and when 2, or all 3 of them wingercise, it looks like a nest full of wings! I did see one get a little bit of air, but not even close to hovering yet. I had to smile when one of the eaglets was hopping and wingercising, and hop-squashed a sibling. That sibling got up and some beaking occurred, lol. Just like in years past when we would watch the camera, there seems to be one eaglet that often is the one standing, and there is one that is often laying down. The third one does a little bit of both. I do miss watching them up close on cam and seeing their personalities develop throughout the season.
May 2021: Mom at the Hatchery
I think my most favorite thing was seeing Mom at the hatchery. I always love being able to see Mom on the maple at the hatchery, and while I was there, I was lucky enough to see her on the maple a couple of times. Brian, from the hatchery, said that she is there most mornings and evenings. One time while I was watching, she flew off the maple to the raceways. She tried to grab a fish but missed it and landed on the ground. She was looking around, was watching the fish in the pond, and walked right into the large pond. A minute or two later, she walked back out and then went in again. She came out, stood on the edge of the pond, flew over it, and snatched a fish. She flew over to the N1 tree and stayed for a few minutes before flying off.
May 2021: Mom and DM2
It was a really nice weekend to watch the eagles. The weather was perfect and I got to see the whole Decorah family. I’m hoping the next time I go back I will see more flapping and hopping, and maybe a hover!
RRP appreciates Robin’s generosity in sharing her photos and reminds you they are copyrighted and may not be downloaded without her express written consent.