Story and photos by Robin Brumm
Saturday was supposed to be sunny and cool. What to do, what to do? Go to Decorah of course! It had been a while since I’d gone to Decorah, and I was wondering what all the eagles were up to. It’s always a gamble going in the “off” season because there is a good chance that you won’t see any eagles, so I had my talons…umm, fingers crossed on the way. As I drove past the N1 tree, I didn’t see any eagles, so I continued on and turned into the hatchery and parked along the side of the road.
Several minutes after I got there, one of the hatchery parents flew from the bluffs toward and past the N1 tree. I walked down to the bridge to look upstream, but didn’t see anybirdy, so I headed back toward the hatchery. A while later, I saw a large dark bird fly over. I looked up and said, “Juvie!” It flew to the pine tree near the northeast corner of the retention pond. Since it was still early, the lighting wasn’t the best, but I was able to get a couple of pictures. Although there is no way to know for sure, I’d like to think that it might have been DH2. I’ve said for years that they should all wear name tags, but nobirdy wants to wear one…lol! I took a few more pictures and then my camera battery died, so I walked over to my car to get a new battery. On my way back over to where I had been standing, I saw a dark shadow. I looked up and the juvie flew around the pond, over by the pavilion and then flew up to a tree on the bluff. It was a tree several trees below where the hatchery parents typically perch. Although the juvie looked like it was pretty comfortable and would stay for a while, I still wanted to go check on Mom and DM2 to see if they were around, so I drove over to N4.
As I walked down the trail towards N4, I was hoping that somebirdy would be in the area. When I got to the curve to set up my chair, I looked all around the area and did not see any eagles, so I set up my chair and sat down to wait. After about half an hour, a young subadult flew over the area. All of a sudden, two adult eagles, which I’m pretty sure were Mom and DM2, flew up from behind a group of trees. I thought they would chase away the sub adult, but they just circled around the area many times. They circled up higher and higher until they finally were so high I could no longer see them. Quite a while later, I noticed that there was an eagle that was perched on the dead tree. I looked through my binoculars and It sure looked like Mom to me! Where did she come from? I am pretty sure that she has a stealth mode because she always just appears out of nowhere. Mom perched on the dead tree for quite a while. While she was there a juvie flew over the area! It was beautiful! It flew right over me and I was able to get a couple good pictures. I love that stage with the mottled wingpits (I’m sure that is not a real word, but it is my favorite part of the juvies). Finally it circled around higher up and flew off over the trees. Mom did not seem concerned and just watched it from her perch. She stayed for a little while after the juvie and then flew off.
Since everybirdy left, I decided it was time for me to leave too. I thought about what I saw… a hatchery parent, a juvie, a sub adult, Mom, DM2, and another juvie! I’d say that was a great eagle day!
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. Thanks so much, Robin!