Airmail from D36 and D27!
Thanks for the postcards, D36 and D27! The last time we posted, the two eaglets were crossing paths on the Turkey River near Clermont, Iowa. D27 came back to the Decorah area in late November and has been looping around it ever since! She flew west to farm country, turned south to Spillville, cut back through Calmar, checked out a favorite river valley just south of the hatchery, and flew back to the Ten-Mile Creek area, where she remains as of this post.
Almost ready to nest?
If you’ve been following D27 for a while, you might have noticed that she’s putting on fewer miles. While different eagles have different flight patterns, bald eagles in general tend to become more sedentary as they age. D27 will turn five this spring: old enough to attract a mate, establish a territory, and start a family of her own. We don’t know whether she’ll settle down – not every eagle or falcon starts a family as soon as they reach sexual maturity – but we’re crossing our talons that her transmitter will remain active long enough for us to see where she nests.
D36 near Waterloo, Iowa
D36 followed his half-sister north as far as Postville. He stayed in the Postville area for several days before flying south to the Cedar River southeast of Waterloo. While this hasn’t been a hugely popular spot with our eagles – D14 and D36 are the only two Decorah eagles we’ve spotted here – I’ve been told it is an excellent spot to see eagles. With winter finally here, I’m curious to see whether he remains in the area or takes the Cedar down to the Mississippi River. Followers might remember that he spent some time down near Columbus Junction last winter. This is an excellent location that sometimes seems as much water as earth, especially in the spring. But with Iowa weather forecast to be (relatively) warm in January, D36 might chose to remain where he is or even fly north toward Decorah if larger rivers and creeks stay open.
As always, a thousand thousand thanks to Brett Mandernack and the staff of Eagle Valley for sharing their maps, data, and expertise with us. To explore the travels of any of the eagles we’ve tracked, visit our interactive maps at https://www.raptorresource.org/learning-tools/eagle-map/. Fly high and stay warm, D27 and D36…and don’t forget to write!