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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 four in this blog. DN15 and DN16 turn 25 and 24 days old today. During week three (fourteen to twenty-one days),
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.
Altricial eaglets rely on parental care until they fledge. But goslings are precocial: capable of moving around, self-feeding, and leaving the nest shortly after hatch. What does that mean? Read on to learn more! Canada Geese and Bald Eagles: Precocial versus Altricial From Stanford University: A precocial bird is “capable of moving around on its own soon after hatching.” The word comes from the same Latin root as “precocious.” Altricial means “incapable of moving around on its own soon after
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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Happy Flock-Tober, everyone! We’ll begin streaming again on Saturday, October 8, at noon. Please join us for a celebratory chat on our website from noon to 3pm CT at https://www.raptorresource.org/birdcams/decorah-eagles/. We look forward to seeing you and are hopeful that HD and HM will show up too! If you don’t see them between noon and three, be sure to check the stream on Sunday morning! Mr. North and DNF are still on staycation, although we’ve seen them in the area
Story and photos by Robin Brumm It had been about a month since I went to Decorah and I have been eager to get back over there to see if I could find both Mom & DM2, and the new pair of Hatchery Eagles. Since Sunday was supposed to be cool, but sunny, I decided to head over early so I left at dark o’clock. Thank goodness dark o’clock isn’t as early as it used to be! I got to
D27: Home for the Fall! In late July, D27 sent a postcard from just inside Manitoba: the farthest north that any of our Decorah eagles have traveled. She started her fall migration on August 10, traveling 79.1 miles SWS to an unnamed lake 58 miles ENE of Sachiago Lake. After several short flights of 30 or so miles, she flew 145 miles south between August 16 and August 18, and an incredible 338 miles between August 19 and August 22!
Story and photos by Robin Brumm I wanted to head to Decorah and Friday looked like the best weather day, so I got up at dark o’clock and got ready. Unfortunately, I had to leave about an hour later because of the fog, but finally I was able to head out. I saw DM2 the last time I was there, but haven’t seen Mom the last few times, so I was hoping she would be around this time. I have
I looked back through our notes and relived the wild cottonwood ride all over again! Mom and DM2, the appearance of two new eagles at N1, and the Canada goose takeover at N2B kept us enthralled, concerned, thrilled, and clinging to the Confusion Couch. February at the hatchery: Mom, DM2, and a few eagles we don’t recognize! Back in early February of 2022, we were seeing a little bit of Mom and DM2 around our hatchery nests: enough to give
Decorah Eagles 2022 Nesting Record
Egg-Laying: Decorah Eagles
Mom laid her first egg this year between Sunday, March 20 and Tuesday morning, March 22. Why was she so late? Read this blog: https://www.raptorresource.org/2022/03/29/finally-an-egg-at-n3/
Egg-Laying: Decorah Geese
Egg #1: March 24, 2022
Egg #2: March 25, 2022
Egg #3: March 27, 2022
Egg #4: March 28, 2022
Egg #5: March 30, 2022
Egg #6: April 1, 2022
Hatching: Decorah Eagles
N3 failed this year, although we have a new pair of eagles hanging out near N1. More about N3, Mom, and DM2 here: https://www.raptorresource.org/2022/04/26/decorah-eagles-update-at-n3-with-mom-decorah-dm2/
Hatching: Decorah Geese
Hatch began on Wednesday, April 27.
The goslings jumped from the nest on Thursday, April 28. You can learn more about that here: https://www.raptorresource.org/2022/05/03/goose-jump-highlights/.
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 Library