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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 moved their nest from their location near the Decorah Trout Hatchery to a tree over a mile away and out of view of our cameras.. 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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Where are eagles D27 and D36? I’m delighted to report that we got postcards from both of them earlier this week! As you might recall, D27 left for Canada on July 16 – about the time that we were thinking she might be looking for a place to settle down! She’s tended to migrate north between mid-to-late May and early June, although she’s drifted later as she’s aged. Still, her mid-July departure caught us by surprise! Whatever the reason –
Happy Tuesday, everyone! A quick update: we finished work at the North nest, where we replaced two cameras, took old equipment down, and measured the North nest. The outside measurement – farthest stick to farthest stick! – is 12 feet by 8.25 feet. The inside measurement – the part the eagles use – is 6.25 by 6 feet. It’s hard to get a height on this nest, but I’m guessing four feet. It’s a big nest! In Decorah, we cleaned
Story and Photos by Robin Brumm I was due for a day trip, so Monday morning I got up at dark o’clock and headed to Decorah. As I was coming around a curve down from the hatchery, I saw an eagle on the maple tree. I got a big smile on my face, and assumed it was Mom. As I got to the corner, I stopped and may have squeed a little bit, because both Mom and DM2 were there!
Story and Photos by Robin Brumm Day One It had been a few weeks, so I was due for a trip to Decorah. A friend was going to meet me there and we both wanted to see if we could find the juvies and see them flying around. I got up early, packed up the car and headed to Decorah. I got there around 7:00am. Shortly after I got there, Mom flew to a tree at the base of the
Whatta week! It is only Tuesday, but we have a full round-up from Decorah, Great Spirit Bluff, and the North Nest. In Decorah, Mom and DM2 have watchers crossing their talons as they make visit after visit to M2, nest N2B, old nest location N1, and the much-loved Y-Branch. We hope that Mom’s recent campouts signal a move back to the hatchery. At Great Spirit Bluff, Chance shows off her lovely plumage, her newly acquired flight skills, and her playful
Decorah Eagles 2021 Nesting Record
Hatch began on April 4th or April 5th. Robin Brumm confirmed three nestlings on April 16.
Fledge began on or around June 20.
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