November 25, 2022: A Day Trip to Decorah with Robin Brumm!

Story and photos by Robin Brumm

It has been about a month since I’ve been to Decorah, and I was anxious to go back to see how N4, Mom and DM2’s new nest, was coming along. Since Friday was supposed to be sunny and 50, I decided it would be the perfect day to make a day trip to Decorah.

HM landing on N1.

HM landing on N1. Photo credit Robin Brumm.

When I got to Decorah, I checked the cam and noticed that one of the hatchery eagles was on the N1 nest, so I went to the hatchery first. When I got there I parked along the road, grabbed my camera and binoculars and headed down the trail/sidewalk toward N1 and the Kiosk. I believe it was HM (hatchery Mom) sitting in the tree. I have to confess that, although I can often tell them apart when watching the camera, in person it is much more difficult unless they are sitting right next to each other and you can see the size difference. I watched HM for a few minutes and then HD (hatchery dad) flew to the Y branch. The eagles spent the next several minutes bringing grasses and sticks, and then they perched next to each other on the Y branch. They both eventually flew off toward the southwest.

HM and HD in the nest.

HM and HD in the nest. Photo credit Robin Brumm.

15 or 20 minutes later, a subadult flew to the maple tree. I didn’t even have time to get a photo because one of the adult eagles immediately flew in and chased it off the tree. They circled around the pond a few times and then both the subadult and adult flew off in different directions. A little while later one of the adults, I think it was HM, flew to a tree in the bluffs. She perched there for quite awhile, so I decided I would head over to the N4 area and see if Mom and DM2 were around. I also wanted to check on the N4 progress.

One of the adults flying over the pond. I think it was HD.

One of the adults flying over the pond. I think it was HD. Photo credit Robin Brumm.

I parked at Walmart, grabbed my stuff and headed down the trail. When I got to my ‘perching’ spot, I noticed that there was an eagle in N4! I looked through my binoculars but there were some shadows and it was hard to see, so I took a photo and zoomed in. It looked like DM2! He was in the nest for a few minutes.

DM2 in the new nest (N4)

DM2 in the new nest (N4). Photo credit Robin Brumm.

A couple of minutes later, he flew off across the river to the dead tree, and then back to the nest. I’m not sure if he brought a stick or maybe a fish to the nest, but he was bent over like he was either eating or moving a stick around. After he was done, he flew off and another adult flew to a tree near where N3 used to be. It was Mom!!! Yay! Meanwhile, DM2 flew to the same tree where Mom was perched, and unfortunately there wasn’t enough room for both, so Mom flew off and landed in a tree near N4. All of a sudden, they both began to vocalize. I looked up and saw 2 eagles soaring… no, wait.. 4 eagles soaring! They were way up in the thermals, so high I couldn’t find them in my camera viewfinder! They slowly soared off to the north and disappeared. DM2 flew off shortly after that, but Mom perched there for about 45 minutes until she flew off to the North.

N4 progress so far.

N4 progress so far! Photo credit Robin Brumm.

Since Mom and DM2 were gone, I decided to head for home. I drove through the hatchery to see if anybirdy was around on my way home. No one was there either, so I continued on my way home. I noticed that the N4 nest was quite a bit bigger than the last time I was there. I’ve included a comparison picture of N4 comparing October to November progress. I can’t wait to see how much bigger the nest will be the next time I go to Decorah!

RRP appreciates Robin’s generosity in sharing her photos and reminds you they are copyrighted and may not be downloaded without her express written permission.