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.
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||2 – D24, D25
||All fledged (note: 3 eggs laid, two hatched)
||3 – D21, D22, D23
||3 – D20, D19, D18
||All fledged. 1 injury, 2 deaths (1 post-dispersal)
||3 – D17, D16, D15
||3 – D14, D13, D12
||All fledged. 2 deaths, 1 post-dispersal
||3 – E1, E2, E3
||All fledged. 1 dispersal
||3 – Not named
||3 – Not named
||2 – Not named
We often get questions about where the eaglets go after they disperse. We tracked eaglets in 2011, 2012, 2014, and 2016 to try to answer this question. For more information, visit our eagle maps.
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
Videos from Decorah
Decorah Eagles Early morning visit 01 16 2017
Decorah N2B 17/01/15 17:01 Dad delivers dinky stick, Mom helps with nestorations
Decorah N1 17/01/15 16:56 Deer browsing under the N1 nest
Decorah N1 17/01/15 16:52 Mom & Dad on N1 and the Y-branch
Decorah N2B 17/01/15 15:03 Mom delivers hay, steals Dad's stick delivery
DECORAH EAGLES 1/14/2017 5:11 PM CST DAD AND MOM STAYED UNTIL AFTER IR CAME ON
DECORAH EAGLES 1/14/2017 4:56 PM CST MOM WITH AN ODD SHAPED STICK
Decorah Bald Eagles 01-15-2017 Dad Making Sure Nest Bowl is Perfect
Decorah Bald Eagles 01-15-2017 Mom Dad and Deer
Decorah Bald Eagles 01-15-2017 Mr. and Mrs. Great Blue Heron's
Decorah Eagles-Parents Perch At Y Branch & Deer Below Y 1/15/17
Decorah Eagles P&Z 01 15 2017
Decorah N2B 17/01/14 17:12 Evening nestorations, Dad warns, Mom gives love nibbles
Decorah N2B 17/01/14 16:57 Mom delivers wonky stick
Decorah N1 17/01/14 14:55 Mom eats floppy fish on the N1 nest