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Welcome to the tenth year of the Decorah Eagle Cam! We hope you enjoy watching eagles and learning about them with us! Click the livestream to watch, click here to pop video out, and scroll down the page to learn more about the eagles and their surroundings.
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 (for the second Decorah male eagle). 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. Visiting Decorah to see the eagles? Please read through our guide to eagle etiquette >> Bald Eagle Etiquette.
Map of the Decorah Eagles Territory. Click here for a live map.
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 fifteen years old in 2018. 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. As of December 2018, Mom and DM2 were working on nest N2B, defending the territory together, and copulating.
Nest Territory and Locations Five nests (N0, N1, N2, N2B, and a second nest at N1) 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. In 2019, a sub-adult male eagle began building a second nest at the old N1 site, sometimes referred to as N1B. We’ll see if the eagles use it for the 2019 season.
Bald Eagle Vocalization
Place, as writer Thom Van Dooren points out, can be understood as an embodied, lived, and meaningful environment. Bald eagles clearly have a sense of place. Their territories are woven with layers of attention, meaning, and experience: spots to hunt, perch, and hide from the weather, materials to build and replenish their nests, and mates and family to bond with and care for. Eagles have neighbors beyond counting – squirrels, mice, raccoon, rabbits, muskrat, mink, coyotes, deer, prairie dogs, trout,
The Chicago Peregrine Program inspired me to write a quick blog on the colors and shapes of eggs. Bald eagles have white eggs, peregrine falcons have eggs that range from light cream through brick red, and red-tailed hawks have pale eggs that are lightly splotched with brown. How and why do the birds we watch lay differently-colored and shaped eggs? In general, female birds inherit egg colors and patterns from their female parents. Egg-shell is made primarily of calcium carbonate,
Everyone poops, but birds do it a little differently than we do. Next time you are washing bird poop off your car, or laughing at eagle poop shoots, take time to consider an eagle’s whole pooping process! The basic chain of events goes something like this. An eagle catches a fish and eats it. The bits of fish move from the eagle’s esophagus into an expandable storage pouch called the crop, which allows birds to gorge food much faster than
A blog about peregrine falcons, especially the Great Spirit Bluff falcons. Watch them here: https://www.raptorresource.org/birdcams/gsb-falcons/
This blog was first published on March 23, 2017. We reposted it to give everyone a peek inside the eggs! As of this writing, the first Decorah egg is 18 days old, the second egg is 15 days old, and the third egg is 11 days old. What do embyronic eagles look they look like as they develop and grow inside their eggs? Dr. Peter Sharpe from the Institute for Wildlife Studies developed a table of bald eagle embryonic development based
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This blog was first published on March 23, 2017. We reposted it to give everyone a peek inside the eggs. As of this writing, there are three eagle eggs in Decorah. The youngest is about 21 days old, the middle is 25 days old, and the oldest is 29 days old. There are two eggs at Decorah North. The youngest is 31 days old and the oldest is 34 days old. Hatch watch starts at Decorah North tomorrow and in Decorah
Tick-tock hatch clock! We’re announcing hatch watch at both Decorah nests as follows: Decorah North DNF laid her first egg on February 21st. Based on her history, first hatch should happen on or around Saturday, March 28, so we’ll be starting hatch watch on March 27! Look for pips or starring on the eggshell and listen for DNF and Mr. North to ‘talk’ to the hatchlings as they work their way out of their shells. The first eaglet to hatch
D27 phoned home! Our wandering eaglet sent a postcard from Bluffton, Iowa – roughly a mile or so from Bob’s old peregrine falcon breeding project. She’s been wandering more as the days grow longer and the weather warms. In January, D27 logged a total of 132.5 miles over 88 data points, with an average trip distance of 1.5 miles. She hunkered down just a tiny bit more in February: logging 132.2 miles, with an average trip distance of 1.1 miles.
We have a NestFlix mega-roll from Decorah, Decorah North, and Great Spirit Bluff for everyone today! I loved all of these videos, but I especially loved Mom pulling grass, DM2 stepping on Mom’s tale while presenting his cornhusk arrangement, funny moments at the Valley of the Norths, and Mr. North’s giant stick (Mr. North is Paul Bunyan!). The tribute to Michelle brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for watching, learning, sharing, and especially for caring. Decorah Eagles Egg one is
Decorah Eagles 2020 Nesting Record
Hatching The first egg hatched on April 4 last year. The first egg to hatch this year will be D34.
Fledging Both eaglets abandoned the nest early last year following intense blackfly swarms. D32 left the nest on June 4, 2019. He was 61 days old. He was picked up and is still in the care of SOAR. D33 left the nest on June 5, 2019. She was 59 days old. She was picked up and cared for by SOAR until her release in the fall of 2019.
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.