Thanks for the airmail, D36! Two-year old bald eagle D36 sent us another postcard from the Turkey River near Spillville, Iowa: seemingly his new favorite hang and the place he’s spent the most time on his Iowa staycation! With winter finally moving in, it’s no surprise that he’s sticking to the steep valleys and flowing water of the Turkey. Given the eagles we’re seeing on the Flyway and wandering through Decorah, he should have plenty of company in the next couple of weeks!
November 14, 2022: D36’s map
We haven’t heard from D27 in three or four weeks now. This isn’t a bad sign for her, since she was moving around and behaving normally before her transmitter stopped talking to us. This could be temporary – it is not uncommon to lose touch with our eagles during the lean solar months of November, December, and January – but I thought it would be fun to look at some highlights from her travels.
August 9, 2017: D27 near N2B
We started tracking D27 on August 9 of 2017, where she first sent us a postcard just a hundred feet or so from her natal nest. As long-time followers might recall, she wasn’t especially easy to catch! Brett wrote a blog about it called Persistence pays off, which you can read here: https://www.raptorresource.org/2017/08/08/persistence-pays-off-a-post-by-brett-mandernack-about-the-fitting-of-d27s-transmitter/.
D27 on March 3, 2019
D27 has traveled 19,234 miles since we started tracking her. She usually summers in NW Ontario, although this year she made it into Manitoba – the farthest north that any of our eagles have have ever traveled. At her northernmost point, she was 883 miles due north of her natal nest! While D1 flew a greater distance to reach Hudson’s Bay, she was still a little south of sister D27’s Manitoba location. D27 flew an incredible 619.4 miles in five days on fall migration this year, for an average of 123 miles per day. We last heard from her in the Clermont, Iowa area.
I looked up a few favorite maps and events from D27’s travels. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do and we’ll let you know if she checks in again! Thanks so much to Brett Mandernack, Ryan Schmitz, and the staff at Eagle Valley for sharing their maps, data, and expertise.
Comparing D27's migration maps from 2018 and 2019. Her flight back in 2019 was much more direct. D27's map on May 10 of 2022. The Upper Iowa has been another favorite spot of hers, and its one of the places we'll check if we don't hear from her again! July 2022: D27 has usually summered in Canada’s Boreal Shield: a place of seemingly endless spruce, balsam fir, and jack pine forests, granite outcroppings, and blue northern lakes. But her latest flight carried her over the Hudson’s Bay Ecoregion – a flat, waterlogged landscape that provides an ideal summer home for millions of migratory birds, including many of the ducks, plovers, sandpipers, geese, and swans we see migrating through the Mississippi Flyway. Banning State Park in East Central Minnesota - a very pretty stopover spot! D27's view from the air on October 15, 2021. D27 and D36 were quite close to one another on November 4, 2021! But not as close as they were on December 1, 2020! I like to picture them sharing - or more likely squabbling over! - some roadkill. Most of our eagles have passed through the Bluffton area. While they tend to head NNE instead of NNW, the Bluffton area isn't far from Decorah and is filled with food, small bluffs, and hills - a great place for bald eagle 'training wheels'! John looks for D27 in this undated photo. Where would we look for D27 to nest as an adult? We'd start with exploring the locations she spent a lot of time in and ask local people about bald eagle nests.
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/. To read through their reports, go to https://www.raptorresource.org/tag/eagle-maps/.