Decorah Bald Eagles


General Information
The Decorah eagles are nesting near the Decorah Trout Hatchery, located at 2325 Siewers Spring Rd in Decorah, IA. 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. To catch up on videos of the Decorah Eagles, please visit our YouTube channel or scroll farther down this page.

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


Eaglets and Outcomes    >>

 Year Nest  Eaglets Outcomes
2017 N2B 3 – D26, D27, D28 All fledged. D27 is still alive.
2016 N2B 2 – D24, D25 D25 was struck by a car and died.
D24 is still alive.
2015 N2 3 – D21, D22, D23 All fledged
2014 N2 3 – D20, D19, D18 All fledged. D18 and D19 were electrocuted.
D20 is still alive and living at SOAR.
2013 N2 3 – D17, D16, D15 All fledged
2012 N1 3 – D14, D13, D12 All fledged. D12 and D14 were electrocuted.
2011 N1 3 – E1, E2, E3 All fledged. We last saw D1 in July of 2014.
Her current status is unknown
2010 N1 3 – Not named All fledged
2009 N1 3 – Not named All fledged
2008 N1 2 – Not named All 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.

Adults

As far as we know, Dad is the original male and Mom is his second mate. Dad is older than Mom, but we don’t know exactly how old he is. Based on plumage color, Mom was four years old in 2007, making her thirteen years old in 2016. Click here for a guide to aging bald eagles based on plumage color and patterns.

Mom is larger than Dad, with a slightly darker head, a pronounced brow, and grey ‘eyeshadow’. This video from 2011 provides pointers on how to tell them apart.

Nest and Location History

That we know of, one male and two females have nested on this territory. The eagles have built three nests (N0, N1, and N2) to date. N0 was destroyed in a storm, the eagles left N1 on their own, and N2 was also destroyed in a storm.

Current 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.

  • 2015: The eagles adopt N2B in October of 2015
  • 2015: Humans build a nest (N2B) to encourage the eagles to begin building near the former location of N2
  • 2015: N2 is destroyed during a storm the morning of July 18
  • 2012: The eagles 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: A four-year old female (Mom) joins Dad at N1 in early December
  • 2007: OM disappears in early fall
  • 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
  • 2002’ish: the male eagle (Dad) and his original mate (OM) build a nest (N0) in the hills to the east of the hatchery

Decorah Eagles Video Playlist
Click the icon on the top left of the stream to view a full list of videos from our 2017 playlist.