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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. HD and HM are usually active in the morning and late afternoon. Check the video list at the bottom of the page or subscribe to our blog to keep up with the latest news.
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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.
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, and N3
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.
Read this blog for more details about Mom, DM2, HD, HM, and the nests: https://www.raptorresource.org/2022/07/18/your-questions-answered-mom-dad-dm2-hd-hm-the-nests-and-the-territories/.
Bald Eagle Vocalization
Each species experiences the world differently and eagles have capacities that are far different from ours. How do Bald Eagles survive an Iowa winter without adaptive clothing and central heat? A cold January morning coated our eagles in frost and left watchers wondering how Bald Eagles survive an Iowa winter. In general, wintering animals – including humans – need to retain body heat, stay dry, and take in enough calories to support winter’s increased energy demands. We humans put on
Daylight length, or photoperiod, strongly influences hormone production in birds. In the northern hemisphere, our story begins shortly after the winter solstice in December. As daylight length increases, a cascade of hormones causes birds’ gonads to swell in preparation for reproduction, egg-laying, and incubation. In this blog, we’ll discuss the role the brood patch plays in incubation and determining clutch size. How do bald eagles keep their eggs warm in subzero temperatures? They apply heat via a special area of
When I say ‘bird’s nest’, you know the type of nest I’m talking about, right? It could be a bald eagle’s stick platform high up in the branches of a tree. Or perhaps a peregrine falcon’s scrape in dirt, sand, or gravel on a shallow cliff ledge. Or maybe the burrows that bank swallows and belted kingfishers excavate in dirt, the cavity nests that woodpeckers excavate in dead wood, or the woven nests that orioles and weavers build. When I
The ways in which we watch and learn about birds – HD cameras, high-powered spotting scopes and lenses, and DNA analyzers – are new, but our interest in birds is very old. Sacred and magical birds are common in folklore, oral traditions, and religious texts, including the Bible, the Torah, the Qur’an, and the Bhagavad-gita. It’s easy to say that ancient people lacked a global perspective and scientific knowledge, but a quick search for birds + omens shows that we
At whatever moment you read these words, day or night, there are birds aloft in the skies of the Western Hemisphere, migrating. If it is spring or fall, the great pivot points of the year, then the continents are swarming with billions of traveling birds… – Living on the Wind: Across the Hemisphere with Migratory Birds We get a lot of questions about migration. Do the Decorah eagles migrate? Do our Peregrine falcons migrate? Where do they go when they
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Several persistent subadult eagles at the Decorah trout hatchery have watchers wondering if they are Decorah eaglets. One appears to be roughly 2-1/2 years old, which means it hatched in 2020: the last year that Mom and DM2 nested in N2B. We know it isn’t D35 or D36. Could it be D34? Natal dispersal in birds is defined as the movement between hatching location and first breeding or potential breeding location. Juvenile bald eagles usually disperse from their natal nests
Are you ready for eagle chat? The egg clock is ticking ever louder as we count the days until HM and DNF lay their first eggs! If you have a chatroll account, you are good to go! If you don’t, register for a free account here: https://chatroll-cloud-1.com/signup. Here’s what our chat schedule looks like! Decorah Eagles Chat The Decorah Eagles regularly scheduled chat will begin after HM lays her first egg. From the first egg to the first hatch, we’ll
We saw a lot of visiting eagles arrive late last week as subzero temperatures and storms pushed eagles into northeast Iowa. Many bald eagles winter in the same place every year, but others behave more like irruptive migrants as they wander the landscape in search of open water and easily available food. Extremely cold weather and serious snowfall push wanderers south – much to the chagrin of residents who aren’t excited about hungry visitors near their nests! The interlopers kept
Decorah Eagles 2023 Nesting Record
Egg-Laying: Decorah Eagles
2023 marks HD and HM’s first year here, so we don’t have a nesting chronology for them yet. In general, eagles at this latitude usually begin laying eggs between late January and mid-March. The eagles we watch in Decorah generally lay eggs in mid-to-late February, although first time pairs often lay a little later and move earlier an their second and third year.
Egg-Laying: Decorah Geese
In 2022, Mother Goose laid her first egg on March 24.
Hatching: Decorah Eagles
We’ll estimate hatch after HM lays her first egg.
Hatching: Decorah Geese
In 2022, the goslings began hatching on April 26.
In 2022, the goslings jumped from the nest on Thursday, April 28.
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