Where is D36? Our little homebuddy is taking a fishing trip on the Turkey River in NE Iowa, moving from Spillville down through Fort Atkinson, Festina, St. Lucas, Eldorado, and back up to Douglas, Iowa. Brett told us that the Turkey River is wide open, which means plenty of fishing opportunities and – most likely – plenty of eagles! Good luck, stay warm, and don’t forget to write!
What might D36 see from the air? A look at the Driftless in Winona, MN.
I got curious about eagles in NE Iowa during the winter, so I decided to check eBird for records. Unsurprisingly, the Mississippi River had the highest number of reports. But there were quite a few in the Decorah area – including Mom! – and many of the eagles were seen by the same bodies of water we’ve tracked our eagles on: the Turkey, the Little Turkey, the Cedar, the Little Cedar, the Volga, the Wapsipinicon, and many smaller creeks. Wherever he is, D36 almost certainly has company!
eBird map. Bald eagles in NE Iowa from December through the end of February, last ten years.
Where will D36 go next? If a polar plunge follows our January thaw, smaller creeks and parts of larger rivers will freeze, which might drive him south. But if things stay (relatively) warm, he might stay in the area. He took a staycation this year instead of summering north. We’ll see if that trend continues!
Looking to celebrate? D36 marks his third birthday on April 8th! You can learn more about all of the eagles we’ve tracked by visiting out interactive maps and clicking ‘Meet the Eagles’. https://www.raptorresource.org/learning-tools/eagle-map/. A thousand thanks to Brett Mandernack, Ryan Schmitz, and the staff of Eagle Valley for sharing their maps, data, and expertise with us! The Driftless photo isn’t from NE Iowa, but is very similar to the patchwork of farms, rivers, and steep hills that D36 is wandering through now. Photo by Cynthya Porter aka @thingsiwander.