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Where did the Decorah Eagles go? They built a new nest at a location that is out of range of our cameras. We will report on them but, depending on where they nest, we may not be able to watch them live. However, Mr. North and DNF are very busy preparing for eggs at the Decorah North nest. You can watch and chat here and we’ll keep everyone posted. https://www.raptorresource.org/birdcams/decorah-north-nest/.
About the Decorah 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. In general, the eagles 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 Mom and DM2 and should help in ID’ing them.
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 eighteen years old in 2021. 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 in the fall of 2018. She and DM2 are entering their third season together.
Nest Territory and Locations
Four nests (N0, N1, N2, and N2B) 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.
Bald Eagle Vocalization
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. DN13 and DN14 are 18 and 16 days old. During week two (seven to 14 days), the
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, the eaglets will gain roughly two pounds, experience rapid growth in
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 one in this blog. What can we expect in the first week following hatching? Like humans, growing eaglets have developmental milestones.
How do we know that falcon Zooey is two years old? Peregrine falcons have two distinct age-related plumages: juvenile and adult. Juvenile falcons have heavily barred underparts and brownish topsides (“brown birds”), mature falcons have pale undersides with black-barred bellies and blue/slate topsides (“blue meanies”), and two-year-old falcons like Zooey have a mix of adult and juvenile feathers. I love this stage! Tail Feathers (Retrices) Like all peregrine falcons, Zooey has twelve tailfeathers that are numbered one to six from
We are on hatch watch at Decorah North! While both eaglets still have open body cavities, most of their major morphological changes are done. At this point: Their eyelids still need to close all the way. Their eyes are growing into their sockets, more or less. Eaglets often have big bulgy ‘blueberry eyes’ when they hatch. Their eyes settle into their sockets during the first few days after hatch. Natal down is growing from feather germs. The chicks are squirming
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The Decorah Eagles are doing wonderfully over at N3! Thanks to Iver Burl for the videos and news – it is great to see them! April 30, 2021: New Nest Decorah Eaglets, midmorning: https://youtu.be/ml1tRkX6ZaI. April 30, 2021: New nest Decorah Eagles, parents on watch: https://youtu.be/6M14Y2fl8q4. You can count three little heads (D37, D38, and D39) in the midmorning video and a nice look at a P – I think it’s DM2, but the eagle never turns its head! – in
Happy Fri-yay, everyone! DN13 is 35 days old, DN14 is 33 days old, peregrine falcon Zooey has laid three eggs, and the day couldn’t be more beautiful! I loved all of these videos, but don’t miss Cute Close-ups (it shows some really interesting differences between DN13 and DN14), DN14 in for the steal (which casts a nice light on eagle behavior), DNF earning her Wright Brothers Master Pilot of the Year award, or the incredible American Avocets on the Mississippi
Story and photos by Robin Brumm I went to Decorah today. I know it is only two weeks since the hatch, and wasn’t expecting to be able to see the eaglets yet, but since it was a nice day and I decided to take a chance and just check. When I got there, DM2 was on the nest. I couldn’t see any eaglets, but it looked like things were pretty quiet. I waited quite a while and saw DM2 looking
By Robin Brumm Monday was my last day of spring break. Hmm…what should I do?? Go to Decorah, of course! I spent Friday and Saturday and there were no signs of a hatch either day. I know that the eggs usually hatch at 35-40 days old. I had looked at the nest records and noted that for the last three years, the first egg has hatched at 39 days. If they laid the first egg on February 24th, 39 days
This is a flashback post first published on April 26 of 2012. I repost it every year when the eagles begin bringing suckerfish into the nest. For new followers: Bob (Anderson) founded the Raptor Resource Project and was its first director. You can learn more about him here: https://www.raptorresource.org/about-us/remembering-bob-anderson/ Bob took a turn operating the controls at the Bald eagle camera this morning. He was fascinated by Dad, who brought in three suckers in one hour. Suckerfish are ‘rough’ fish:
Decorah Eagles 2021 Nesting Record
Hatching Hatch began on April 4th or April 5th. Robin Brumm confirmed three nestlings on April 16.
Fledging Fledge should occur in mid-June.
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.
Decorah Eagles Video Playlist