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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 seventeen years old in 2020. 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 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
TLDR: We won’t, but read on to learn why!When will we be able to tell the sex of the eaglets? We get asked this question every year. While most of us make private guesses, we don’t make them official – in no small part because we’ve been wrong before! Keep in mind that age is a bigger factor than sex in weight gain and size early in nest life. Sexual dimorphism begins to appear in some variables after about 20
One of the most common questions we’re getting right now is something along the lines of ‘Why don’t Mom and DM2 DO something about all of those beak-bonking battles?‘ We recognize that eagle parents are bonded to their children, so why don’t they stop potentially harmful behavior? It’s umwelt time, so let’s put our eagle heads on and think through the question! Competition is an important part of eagle ‘society’, but eagles also need to surrender food to hungry mates
It’s April 7 and a lot of you are wondering about the third egg. Will it hatch? It could! It has been almost 34 days since Mom laid her third egg, which is 33 days and 20 hours old as I write this. But her third egg almost always hatches 36 to 37 days after it was laid. If she goes 36 days, which is fairly common, hatch should happen on April 9th. We could see pip later today or
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,
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It’s September! The eaglets have fledged and our eagle Moms and Dads are at their lowest point of attachment to their nests, which makes it the perfect time for camera work. We don’t have a cam turn-on date yet (although I will post as soon as we do!), but here is a rough outline of our tasks: At N2B: We’ll be replacing three cameras and two microphones at N2B, cleaning everything up, and doing a little trimming around the nest
Story and photos by Robin Brumm I got up at Dark O’clock to head to Decorah. It had been a week since the camera went down and I wanted to see if D36 was still around, and I was going to meet a friend there. When I got to the hatchery, Mom was on the new maple tree. My friend said she had heard squeeing and saw a juvie fly to the southwest before I got there, but she wasn’t
We have your postcards! D27 left the north and arrived back in Decorah on August 29, passing within .20 miles of her natal nest! If you check the maps, you’ll see that she spent a little time near a favorite outdoor school spot/perching place for the Decorah Eagles this summer. Was she close to D36? Not especially! Our little homebody took a trip up to Bluffton, Iowa, in the late afternoon. By the time D27 arrived, D36 was gone! Still,
We’re getting questions about the eagle maps. We tend to update them two to three times monthly unless something exciting happens. I’ll put up an update the next time we have data. But in the meantime, we have some videos of a very stuffed DM2, a tween-eagle party at Decorah North, hunting eagles on the Flyway, and a few odds and ends prompted by fan emails. We hope you enjoy these videos as much as we did! Decorah Eagles August
Summer is coming to a close! D34 and D35 have left home – possibly for good! – but D36 returned to beg a few more meals from Mom and DM2. Meanwhile, things are getting busy on the Flyway as animals begin preparing for winter. Everyone is feeding up in preparation for migration or a long hibernation beneath ice and snow. It has been great fun to watch activities at Decorah and the Flyway. I hope you enjoy these videos as
Decorah Eagles 2020 Nesting Record
Hatching D34: April 5, 2020 @ 9:45 AM CDT D35: April 5, 2020 @ 4:07 PM CDT D36: April 8, 2020 @ 6:50 PM CDT
Fledging D34: June 18 @ 8:40 AM D35: June 21 @ 8:44 AM – fall turned fledge! D36: June 21 @ 6:09 PM
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.