Decorah Eagle Cam

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Where did Mom and DM2 go? The two built a new nest out of camera range. But another pair of eagles have moved into the hatchery territory and are busy working on N1. Check the video list at the bottom of the page or subscribe to our blog to keep up with the latest news. For branch ID, follow this link.

About the Decorah Eagles

About the Decorah Eagles

A new pair of eagles have moved into the rebuilt N1 nest near the trout hatchery. For now, we are calling them HM (Hatchery Mom) and HD (Hatchery Dad). 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 dead fish, squirrels, other birds, rabbit, muskrat, deer, possum and anything else they can catch or find. To learn more about bald eagles, 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.

Female eagles are larger than male eagles, with slightly darker heads and more pronounced brows. The image below shows the differences in appearance between HM and HD and should help in ID’ing them. We have more tips here.

Decorah Eagles: HM and HD

A Brief History of the Decorah Eagles: OM, Dad, Mom, DM2, HM, and HD

Dad Decorah and his first mate, OM, began nesting near the fish hatchery in 2002. OM disappeared in the early fall of 2007 and was replaced by Mom, Dad’s second mate. Mom and Dad stayed together through three nests and eleven years before Dad disappeared in April of 2018. Mom accepted her second mate, DM2, in the fall of 2018 and the two nested near the hatchery until the end of 2020, when they built a new nest behind the Walmart in Decorah.

Nest N1 sat empty in 2021 and 2022, although we began seeing another pair of adult bald eagles in and around the nest in March of 2022, and Canada Geese hatched young at N2B in April. For the time being, we have christened the new Decorah Eagles HM (Hatchery Mom) and HD (Hatchery Dad), although those names could change. Whatever we end up calling them, we are hopeful they will lay eggs in 2023!

Nest Territory and Locations: N0, N1, N2, N2B, N3, and N4

Five nests (N0, N1 [twice], N2, and N2B) have been built on the Decorah territory. Bald eagles built N0, N1 (once), and N2. Neil Rettig and Kike Arnal built nest N2B in August of 2015 after N2 was destroyed in a storm, and Kike Arnal and Amy Ries rebuilt nest N1 in September of 2021 after the original nest dwindled away.

  • 2023: HD and HM nest in N1.
  • 2022: Canada Geese hatch young in N2B:, a new pair of bald eagles (HD, or Hatchery Dad and HM, or Hatchery Mom) adopts N1, N3 falls in July, and Mom and DM2 build another nest (N4) behind the Decorah-area Walmart.
  • 2020: Mom and DM2 begin a new nest (N3) behind the Decorah Walmart and begin nesting there in 2021.
  • 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. Watch the N2B rebuild here: and read about it at our old blogspot:
  • 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

Read this blog for more details about Mom, DM2, HD, HM, and the nests:

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 25, 2023: DH2 sprawls comfortably in the nest.

From bobble heads to eaglets: Natal down, thermal down, and flight feathers!

As DH2 starts to sprout pinfeathers, we’re getting questions about natal down, thermal down, and juvenile feathers. Unless otherwise stated, the information in this blog applies to altricial birds, although most research in this area has been done on precocial and semi-precocial birds like ducks, geese, and cranes. Altricial and precocial birds have some marked differences in pre-hatch follicular development and post-hatch molts.   Natal down, thermal down, and juvenile feathers Does thermal down sprout from natal down pores? Do flight

April 28, 2023: DH2

Eaglet Growth and Development: Week Four

We’re writing a series of blogs about the first few weeks of an eaglet’s life. An eaglet spends roughly 75 to 80 days in the nest. For about the first half, it grows and gains weight. For about the second half, it grows flight feathers and starts developing the skills it will need post-fledge. We will focus on week four in this blog. During week three (fourteen to twenty-one days), DH2 shed most of its natal down, gained a lot

April 24, 2023: DH2. Look at that footpad!

Eaglet Growth and Development: Week Three

We’re writing a series of blogs about the first few weeks of an eaglet’s life. An eaglet spends roughly 75 to 80 days in the nest. For about the first half, it grows and gains weight. For about the second half, it grows flight feathers and starts developing the skills it will need post-fledge. We will focus on week three in this blog. DH2 turns 18 days old today. During week two (seven to 14 days), its footpads and talons

April 28, 2022: The goslings about 36 hours after hatch.

Canada Geese: Precocial versus Altricial

As watchers know, Canada geese are nesting in an abandoned bald eagle nest in Decorah, Iowa. N2B – currently a goose nest – is located about 700 feet east of N1, where HM and HD are nesting. We believe that hatch will begin on or around Saturday, April 22. You can watch that nest here; This blog discusses some of the differences between altricial eagles and precocial geese!  Altricial eaglets rely on parental care until they fledge. But goslings

April 18, 2023: DH2 turns 12 days old today. It seemed like it went from a tiny hatchling to a nestling just today!

Eaglet Growth and Development, Week Two

We’re writing a series of blogs about the first few weeks of an eaglet’s life. An eaglet spends roughly 75 to 80 days in the nest. For about the first half, it grows and gains weight. For about the second half, it grows flight feathers and starts developing the skills it will need post-fledge. We will focus on week two in this blog. In their second week of development, eaglets gain roughly two pounds, experience rapid growth in features like

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May 17, 2023: Watch your toes, HM!

Where did our eagle parents go?

Some of you have expressed concern that our eagle parents aren’t properly caring for or feeding their young. We’re still seeing plenty of parental care – DH2 got three feedings just this morning! – but we’re also seeing a lot less brooding and a lot more alone time. While at least one eagle parent is always in the area, they aren’t always on the nest. What’s going on? Older eaglets no longer require (or want) continuous brooding, and their parents

May 11, 2023: Like father, like son or daughter! DH2 shows off its warbling skills as it furls and unfurls its unwieldy wings!

May 12, 2023: NestFlix and News, Decorah Edition

DH2 enters its sixth week of life today! During week five, our not-so-little eaglet got better at eating rough pieces of food, self-feeding, standing, and shooting poop. It wingercized unwieldy wings, began building leg and flight muscles as it hopped and stomped, played house, tween-preened the keratin sheaths that covered its emerging wing and tail feathers, and lost the last remnant of its egg tooth on May 10. If DH2 wasn’t sprawling around the nest, it was pestering Mom and

May 8, 2023: HM's new slippers! HD2 is huddling beneath her on a rainy, wet morning in Decorah.

May 8, 2023: What are we looking forward to this week?

What are we looking forward to this week? We’ve got hatch at Great Spirit Bluff, nestling falcons at Alma, Great River Energy, and the Dubuque Courthouse, and some projected big nights on the Mississippi Flyway. Let’s break it down! Great Spirit Bluff Hatch has started at Great Spirit Bluff! Falcons normally begin full incubation after they lay their penultimate egg and it generally takes about thirty-three days from the onset of full incubation to the beginning of hatch. Savanna laid

May 4, 2023: DH2 relaxes in N1, the sky reflected in its eyes.

May 6, 2023: Nestflix and News (with pelicans!)

We have your Saturday NestFlix! HD2 entered its fifth week of life yesterday and hit the standing milestone on Wednesday. Watch out below – projectile pooping is about to enter a new era! We also saw unihemispheric sleep, sweet eagle dreams, an intruder, and DH2 playing ‘house’. What a charming week! On the Mississippi Flyway, we’re enjoying a new Instagrammable log. Pelicans, Caspian terns, cormorants, and bald eagles are all showing up for selfies and videos! We hope you enjoy

June 30, 2020: D36 and the eagle team

Bald Eagle D36 has died

We are beyond sorry to announce that bald eagle D36 has died. Bald eagles die and this isn’t the first time we’ve had to announce it. But this feels especially tragic. For almost the first time since we started tracking eaglets from Decorah back in 2011, we won’t be following one. We started tracking them to answer one of the most common questions that followers asked: ‘Where do the Decorah Eagles go?’. They taught us a whole lot about their

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Nest Records

Decorah Eagles 2023 Nesting Record

Egg-Laying: Decorah Eagles
HM laid her first egg at 3:43 PM CT on February 25, 2023.
HM laid her second egg at 4:38 PM CT on February 28, 2023.

Egg-Laying: Decorah Geese
MG laid egg #1 on March [email protected] 9:36 AM
MG laid egg #2 on March 23 at 8:45 AM
MG laid egg #3 on March 25 at 7:07 AM
MG laid egg #4 on March 26 at 7:15 AM
MG laid egg #5 on March 28, time unknown (full incubation started)
MG laid egg #6 on March 30, time unknown

Hatching: Decorah Eagles
DH1 hatched at 4:10am on April 5 and died sometime that evening
DH2 hatched at 6:45pm on April 6
DH2 is 61 days 6 hours old.

Hatching: Decorah Geese
In 2022, the goslings began hatching on April 26.

In 2022, the goslings jumped from the nest on Thursday, April 28.

Eaglets and Outcomes >>
 Year Nest  Eaglets Outcomes
2022 N3 failed. Five goslings jumped from N2B CG1, CG2, CG3, CG4, CG5 One gosling – we think it might have been the second one – died in the leap. The rest survived and rejoined their parents.
2021 N3 3 – D37, D38, D39 All three eaglets fledged successfully.
2020 N2B 3 – D34, D35, D36 All three eaglets fledged successfully. We are following D35 and D36 via satellite.
2019 N2B 2 – D32, D33 Both eaglets abandoned the nest early
following an intense blackfly swarm.
Both were cared for at SOAR and have since been released.
2018 N2B 3 – D29, D30, D31 All fledged.
2017 N2B 3 – D26, D27, D28 All fledged. We are following D27 via satellite.
2016 N2B 2 – D24, D25 D25 was struck by a car and died.
We are following D24 via satellite.
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, 2017, and 2020 to try to answer this question. For more information, visit our eagle maps.

Decorah Eagles Video Library

Decorah Eagles Video Library

Click the hamburger icon on the top right of the video below to view a full list of videos from our most recent playlist, or visit our Decorah Eagles video library page here: