Where are the eagles? Everyone checks in!

Where are Decorah Eagles D36 and D27, Golden Eagles 731 and 733, and FSV44 from Xcel Energy’s Fort St. Vrain nest in Platteville, Colorado? Everyone except D36 has headed north to summer in cooler climes, and all of them sent summer vacation postcards!

Decorah Bald Eagles D27 and D36

D27 is currently spending time on an unnamed lake west of Magiss Lake in northwestern Ontario. Her departure was a bit of a surprise to us, since she left so late and stayed so briefly last year. This year looks more like her typical behavior: a departure in May and a summer in and around several large lakes. We have over 423 hits spanning four years in the areas on and between Sandy and Weagamow Lakes: a popular summer vacation spot for bald eagles and humans interested in finding fish!

D36 is spending late June on the Iowa-Minnesota border, flying between Lime Springs, the Niagara Cave area, and Kendallville. We’ve seen him as far south as Oelwein, Iowa and as far north as Utica, MN, but his range is a lot narrower than D27’s. She’s currently 594 miles NNW of her natal nest, while he’s just 22 miles away.

Xcel Energy Fort St. Vrain Bald Eagle FSV44
June 29, 2022: FSV44, a bald eagle from Xcel Energy's Fort St. Vrain plant in Platteville, CO

June 29, 2022: FSV44, a bald eagle from Xcel Energy’s Fort St. Vrain plant in Platteville, CO

FSV44 spent last fall up in Montana. This summer, she flew a little farther to Manitoba. I don’t have an exact location for her, but it looks like she might be in and around the Nelson River chain of lakes – about 279 miles NNW of D27’s summer range! Thanks to Colorado Parks and Wildlife for sharing their data on FSV44, and to Bill Heston for all his work on the tracking project!

Golden Eagles 731 and 733
July 29, 2022: Golden Eagle Map

July 29, 2022: Golden Eagle Map

GOEA 731, an adult Golden Eagle, is on Madam Daly Lake: an extremely remote region of Nunavut that isn’t far from Chantrey Inlet on Tariunnuaq Bay. I don’t know how to tell you about this area: I can’t find many names, pictures, cities, or roads. I can tell you that it is rugged and inaccessible except by plane and boat: a place where forest becomes rock, rock becomes water, and water becomes sky. It must be a very special place, since she traveled about 1600 miles north to reach it.

GOEA 733, a subadult Golden Eagle, is about 77 miles north of Churchill, Manitoba – an area I used to think of was remote before learning about Chantrey Inlet! According to Birds of The World, this is a common area for Golden Eagles, although I don’t have any information about the breeding population versus the non-breeding population. Off their breeding territories, Golden Eagles are seen most frequently in open habitats with native vegetation. If it holds true that Golden Eagles prefer forested areas for breeding, I suspect that the population here might trend young. While she isn’t summering near any of our eagles, she and FSV44 checked in at the same cell tower near Gilman, Manitoba. I have to wonder how many bald and golden eagles fly through the area!

A thousand thanks to the Brett Mandernack and the staff of Eagle Valley for sharing their maps, data, and expertise with us, to Reesa Conrey of Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Bill Heston from Xcel Energy Fort St. Vrain for keeping us up to date on FSV44, and to Kohler Company for supporting our bald eagle tracking program. Fly high, everyone – and don’t forget to write!

To check out the travels of our bald eagles, go to https://www.raptorresource.org/learning-tools/eagle-map/. To learn more about the Golden eagles, go to our Golden Eagle maps page at : https://www.raptorresource.org/learning-tools/golden-eagles/golden-eagle-maps/.