Decorah Eagle Cam

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Welcome to the tenth year of the Decorah Eagle Cam! We hope you enjoy watching eagles and learning about them with us! Click the livestream to watch, click here to pop video out, and scroll down the page to learn more about the eagles and their surroundings.

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About the Decorah Eagles

About the Eagles

The Decorah eagles are nesting near the Decorah Trout Hatchery, located at 2325 Siewers Spring Rd in Decorah, IA. The female is known as Mom and the male is known as DM2 (for the second Decorah male eagle). In general, they begin courtship in October, productive mating in late January or early February, and egg-laying in mid to late February. Hatching usually begins in late March to early April, and the eaglets fledge in mid-to-late June. While young usually disperse between August and October, the adults remain on territory year round. They eat live and and dead fish, squirrels, other birds, rabbit, muskrat, deer, possum and anything else they can catch or find. To learn more about bald eagles in general, please follow this link to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website. Visiting Decorah to see the eagles? Please read through our guide to eagle etiquette >> Bald Eagle Etiquette.

Map of the Decorah Eagles Territory

Map of the Decorah Eagles Territory. Click here for a live map.

Female eagles are larger than male eagles, with slightly darker heads and more pronounced brows. The image below shows the differences in appearance between Mom and DM2 and should help in ID’ing them.

Decorah Eagles: Mom and DM2

History of the Decorah Eagles
Dad, Mom’s original mate, disappeared in April of 2018. Based on plumage color, Mom was four years old in 2007, making her fifteen years old in 2018. Click here for a guide to aging bald eagles based on plumage color and patterns.

After two other males came and went (you can read more about that here), Mom accepted a third suitor. As of December 2018, Mom and DM2 were working on nest N2B, defending the territory together, and copulating.

Nest Territory and Locations
Five nests (N0, N1, N2, N2B, and a second nest at N1) have been built on the Decorah territory. N0 was destroyed in a storm, the eagles left N1 on their own, and N2 was also destroyed in a storm. Fourth nest N2B is a little more complicated. Humans Neil Rettig and Kike Arnal built N2B in August of 2015. We hoped the starter nest would encourage the eagles to adopt it and keep building, which they did! Footage of the build can be seen here: https://youtu.be/2-xRSBBeIYs. A blog about the nest build can be read here. In 2019, a sub-adult male eagle began building a second nest at the old N1 site, sometimes referred to as N1B. We’ll see if the eagles use it for the 2019 season.

  • 2018: Dad disappears in April of 2018. He is last seen at N2B on April 18, 2018. After two male eagles come and go, Mom accepts new mate DM2, for Decorah Male 2. The two begin working on N2B in October.
  • 2015: N2 is destroyed during a storm the morning of July 18. In August, humans build a nest (N2B) to encourage the eagles to begin building near the former location of N2. Mom and Dad adopt N2B in October of 2015.
  • 2012: Mom and Dad begin a new nest (N2) in mid-October on the north bank of Trout Creek about 700 feet from N1, which is still standing
  • 2007: N0 is destroyed during a storm. Dad and OM begin building a new nest (N1) in the yard of a home just north of the hatchery. OM disappears in early fall. 2007: A four-year old female (Mom) joins Dad at N1 in early December.
  • 2002’ish: the male eagle (Dad) and his original mate (OM) build a nest (N0) in the hills to the east of the hatchery
Quick facts
Common name: Bald Eagle
Scientific name: Haliaeetus leucocephalus
Length: 2.3–3.1 feet | 71–96 cm
Wingspan: 5.9 – 7.5 feet | 1.7-2.2 meters
Weight: 6.5 – 13.8 pounds | 3–6.3 kilograms
Lifespan: Up to 40 years in the wild

Bald Eagle Vocalization

April 28, 2020: D34, D36, and D35 seeking shade at N2B

When will we be able to tell the sex of the eaglets?

TLDR: We won’t, but read on to learn why!When will we be able to tell the sex of the eaglets? We get asked this question every year. While most of us make private guesses, we don’t make them official – in no small part because we’ve been wrong before! Keep in mind that age is a bigger factor than sex in weight gain and size early in nest life. Sexual dimorphism begins to appear in some variables after about 20

April 16, 2020: Decorah Eaglets

Why don’t Mom and DM2 DO something about all of those beak-bonking battles?

One of the most common questions we’re getting right now is something along the lines of ‘Why don’t Mom and DM2 DO something about all of those beak-bonking battles?‘ We recognize that eagle parents are bonded to their children, so why don’t they stop potentially harmful behavior? It’s umwelt time, so let’s put our eagle heads on and think through the question! Competition is an important part of eagle ‘society’, but eagles also need to surrender food to hungry mates

April 7, 2020: D34 and D35

Your questions, answered: Will the third egg hatch? Why did the first two eaglets hatch so close together?

It’s April 7 and a lot of you are wondering about the third egg. Will it hatch? It could! It has been almost 34 days since Mom laid her third egg, which is 33 days and 20 hours old as I write this. But her third egg almost always hatches 36 to 37 days after it was laid. If she goes 36 days, which is fairly common, hatch should happen on April 9th. We could see pip later today or

November 7, 2017: Dad Decorah

#Musings: Place, stories, and eagle intelligence.

Place, as writer Thom Van Dooren points out, can be understood as an embodied, lived, and meaningful environment. Bald eagles clearly have a sense of place. Their territories are woven with layers of attention, meaning, and experience: spots to hunt, perch, and hide from the weather, materials to build and replenish their nests, and mates and family to bond with and care for. Eagles have neighbors beyond counting – squirrels, mice, raccoon, rabbits, muskrat, mink, coyotes, deer, prairie dogs, trout,

eggs - Egg Colors and Shapes

Egg Colors and Shapes

The Chicago Peregrine Program inspired me to write a quick blog on the colors and shapes of eggs. Bald eagles have white eggs, peregrine falcons have eggs that range from light cream through brick red, and red-tailed hawks have pale eggs that are lightly splotched with brown. How and why do the birds we watch lay differently-colored and shaped eggs? In general, female birds inherit egg colors and patterns from their female parents. Egg-shell is made primarily of calcium carbonate,

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News

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May 19, 2020: DN12 at the North Nest

May 19, 2020: It’s a Mega Raptor Marathon from Decorah and Decorah North!

The eaglets at Decorah and Decorah North are all past the halfway point in nest life. They usually fledge at 75 to 80 days, with males often (but not always) fledging first. We see a lot of baby behaviors in the first four to five weeks of nest life: eat, bonk (until about the third week), poop, sleep, repeat. The baby-eees are also exploring the nest and gaining skills, but things don’t really kick into high gear until they begin

May 12, 2020: D36 and D35

May 13, 2020: Nestflix from the Decorah Eagles!

We have your Decorah Eagles videos! Sometimes I can pick favorites, but I thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of these. D34 and D35 are turning 38 days old today, and little D36 is turning 35 days old. For about the first half of nest life, eaglets grow and gain weight. For about the second half of nest life, eaglets grow flight feathers and start developing the skills they need for life beyond the nest. We’re seeing that right now

May 11, 2020: D27's latest map

May 12, 2020: Where is eagle D27?

Where is D27? The just-over three-year-old eaglet sent a postcard from the Frankville, Iowa area a couple of days ago! Brett wrote: “D-27 completed a cool loop heading ESE into WI for a few days, definitely out of her typical winter range, and eventually returned to the east side of her winter range near Frankville, IA. The visit to Patch Grove, WI was curious, as that is the farthest into WI she has ever been. I wonder if she saw

May 11, 2020: D34 and Mom

May 12, 2020: Where did our little eaglets go?

D34 turned 36 days old yesterday. How big is our oldest eaglet compared to Mom? Based on work by researcher Gary Bortolotti, the Decorah eaglets are between about 6.6 to 7.9 pounds right now. Adult northern adult eagles weigh between around 9 pounds (males) and 11 pounds (females). This means that D34 is about 75% of the way to its adult weight. Researchers measure length by the tip of the tail to the tip of the bill. Since D34 doesn’t

May 7, 2020: D36 naps behind Mom's new picket fence

May 8, 2020: Your Fri-yay nest news and raptor movie marathon!

Happy Fri-yay, everyone! We’ll keep the news short and sweet: today Decorah eaglets D34 and D35 turn 33 days old and D36 turns 30 days old, and DN12 at the North nest turns 38 days old – about halfway through an eaglet’s 75 to 80 day nest life! We had our first peregrine falcon hatch at Great Spirit Bluff last night, with possibly more to come, and we also have falcon hatchlings at Dairyland Power Genoa and MPL Hibbard. Thank

>> More News
Nest Records

Decorah Eagles 2020 Nesting Record

Egg-Laying
Egg #1: February 26, 2020 @ 5:44 PM CT
Egg #2: February 29, 2020 @ 6:28 PM CT
Egg #3: March 4, 2020 @ 5:59 PM CT

Hatching
D34: April 5, 2020 @ 9:45 AM CDT
D35: April 5, 2020 @ 4:07 PM CDT
D36: April 8, 2020 @ 6:50 PM CDT

Fledging
Fledge should happen in mid-to-late June this year

Eaglets and Outcomes >>
 YearNest EagletsOutcomes
2019N2B2 – D32, D33Both eaglets abandoned the nest early
following an intense blackfly swarm.
D32 is being cared for by SOAR. D33
has been released.
2018N2B3 – D29, D30, D31All fledged.
2017N2B3 – D26, D27, D28All fledged. D27 is still alive.
2016N2B2 – D24, D25D25 was struck by a car and died.
D24 is still alive.
2015N23 – D21, D22, D23All fledged
2014N23 – D20, D19, D18All fledged. D18 and D19 were electrocuted.
D20 is still alive and living at SOAR.
2013N23 – D17, D16, D15All fledged
2012N13 – D14, D13, D12All fledged. D12 and D14 were electrocuted.
2011N13 – E1, E2, E3All fledged. We last saw D1 in July of 2014.
Her current status is unknown
2010N13 – Not namedAll fledged
2009N13 – Not namedAll fledged
2008N12 – Not namedAll fledged

We often get questions about where the eaglets go after they disperse. We tracked eaglets in 2011, 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2017 to try to answer this question. For more information, visit our eagle maps.

Videos

Decorah Eagles Video Playlist

Click the icon on the top left of the stream to view a full list of videos from our 2020 playlist, or visit our our YouTube channel.