Decorah Bald Eagles

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Decorah
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About the Decorah Eagles

About the Eagles

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.

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.

Mom and DM2

Nest Territory and Locations

Nest map and compass. Roll over the image and click the arrows to move right and left

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.

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.

  • 2018: After two male eagles come and go, Mom accepts a new mate. The two begin working on N2B in October.
  • 2018: Dad disappears in April of 2018. He is last seen at N2B on April 18, 2018.
  • 2015: Mom and Dad 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: Mom and Dad 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
Quick facts
Common name: Bald Eagle
Scientific name: Haliaeetus leucocephalus
Length: 2.3–3.1 feet | 71–96 cm
Wingspan: 5.9 – 7.5 feet | 1.7-2.2 meters
Weight: 6.5 – 13.8 pounds | 3–6.3 kilograms
Lifespan: Up to 40 years in the wild

Bald Eagle Vocalization

Blogs About Bald Eagles
[posts_table tag=”FAQ” columns=”image:blank,title:blank,date,tags” rows_per_page=”5″ page_length=”false”]

News
July 12, 2019: A sub-adult at N1

As the Nest Turns: A Subadult in Decorah!

It looks like another episode of ‘As The Nest Turns’ has dropped! A beautiful 4-1/2 year old subadult showed up in the Decorah territory, perching near Momat N1 and spending time in N2B. Videos here: https://youtu.be/UFTG4tsSSNo https://youtu.be/Dq1y-e9VDXk Is this a rival suitor to DM2? A previous year’s offspring dropping in for a visit? We don’t know, but we’ll be watching and there is an active discussion about it in our forum.

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July 12, 2019: D32's cast is removed

D32 update from our friends at SOAR

A share from SOAR Some good news for Decorah Eaglet D32! His cast was removed after a vet check and new x-ray, and we put a new wrap on him for support. Since D32 was showing more signs of energy and wanted to stretch his wings, we moved him from the ICU crate to a 10’x20′ enclosure. He also has a roomie…an HY18 bald eagle at a similar stage in recovery. D32’s sibling D33 and Decorah North eaglet DN9 are

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July 12, 2019: Carson at Great Spirit Bluff

Friday Night Flicks!

Decorah and Decorah North Eagles We got a nice long look at Mom on the ninth, which led to a lot of concerned questions about her appearance. Read this blog for more information: https://www.raptorresource.org/2019/07/12/is-mom-decorah-okay/ 07/09/2019: Mom’s feature film – https://youtu.be/uCpI4X-cW5s. Our first good look at Mom for weeks; still lots of flies bothering her, but she stays on camera for over an hour. This is a long video, but we’ve been waiting a long time to see her. 07/09/2019: Flyby

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July 12, 2019: Mom Decorah

Is Mom Decorah okay?

We got a nice, long look at Mom on Tuesday, which led to a lot of worried questions about her appearance. What was that dark mark beneath her chin? What’s going on with her face? Is she going to leave her territory? Here’s what we know. What’s going on with Mom’s face? In a word: Blackflies. John Howe and Neil Rettig captured several flies from Red-tailed Hawks near Neil’s home in Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin. A professor at Clemson University

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Photo of Mom, credit Robin Brumm

After the Fledge Schedule

While fledge didn’t go as expected this year, our After The Fledge party is still on! After The Fledge will take place from Thursday, July 18 to Sunday, July 21. You are still welcome to register at http://bit.ly/2ILFW0E. Coming to Decorah for ATF (or any other reason)? Don’t miss our Before The Fledge Auction – your chance to win gift cards to great Decorah businesses! https://www.32auctions.com/BTF2019. You can find a printable schedule here: https://raptorresource.org/pdf/ATF-Schedule.pdf. All Weekend Decorah Fish Hatchery Tour:

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Nest Records
Decorah Eagles 2019 Nesting Record
Egg-Laying
Egg #1: February 22, 2019 @ 10:32 PM CT
Egg #2: February 26, 2019 @ 6:44 PM CT
Egg #3: March 2, 2019 @ 7:05 PM CT

The first egg broke on March 11.

Hatching
Hatch #1: April 4, 2019 @ 6:54 PM CT (D32)
Hatch #2: April 7, 2019, @ 7:19 PM CT (D33)

Fledging
D30, last year’s first fledgling, fledged on 6/16/18 @ 2:55PM CDT

D32 is 104 days 13 hours old.
D33 is 101 days 12 hours old.
Eaglets and Outcomes >>
 YearNest EagletsOutcomes
2018N2B3 – D29, D30, D31All fledged.
2017N2B3 – D26, D27, D28All fledged. D27 is still alive.
2016N2B2 – D24, D25D25 was struck by a car and died.
D24 is still alive.
2015N23 – D21, D22, D23All fledged
2014N23 – D20, D19, D18All fledged. D18 and D19 were electrocuted.
D20 is still alive and living at SOAR.
2013N23 – D17, D16, D15All fledged
2012N13 – D14, D13, D12All fledged. D12 and D14 were electrocuted.
2011N13 – E1, E2, E3All fledged. We last saw D1 in July of 2014.
Her current status is unknown
2010N13 – Not namedAll fledged
2009N13 – Not namedAll fledged
2008N12 – Not namedAll fledged

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.

Videos

Decorah Eagles Video Playlist

Click the icon on the top left of the stream to view a full list of videos from our 2019 playlist, or visit our our YouTube channel.