Decorah Eagle Cam

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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/.

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About the Decorah Eagles
About the Decorah 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. 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.

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.

Decorah Eagles: Mom and DM2

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.

  • 2018: Dad disappears in April of 2018. He is last seen at N2B on April 18, 2018. After two male eagles come and go, Mom accepts new mate DM2, for Decorah Male 2. The two begin working on N2B in October.
  • 2015: N2 is destroyed during a storm the morning of July 18. In August, humans build a nest (N2B) to encourage the eagles to begin building near the former location of N2. Mom and Dad adopt N2B in October of 2015.
  • 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: 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. OM disappears in early fall. 2007: A four-year old female (Mom) joins Dad at N1 in early December.
  • 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

Avian Reproductive System, From Handbook of Bird Biology, Second Edition

Eagles, ‘menopause’, and a new mate at Xcel Energy’s Fort St. Vrain plant

Has Ma FSV entered ‘menopause’? This blog was going to be focused on eagles and ova, but Elfruler, our original DE lead mod and a long-time chronicler of bald eagle nests, noticed that the male had a band on his right leg, not his left. A new eagle has replaced Pa FSV. If you’d like to learn more about eagles and ova, please read on (TLDR: Ma FSV has not entered menopause). Thanks to Elfruler for her observations and Donna

An embryonic bird at 33 hours

Peek inside a bald eagle egg: 4 days!

As of this writing, we’re still waiting for eggs at Fort St. Vrain. The second Decorah North egg is three days and 22 hours 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 on work done by Hamburger and Hamilton (1951). While not all bald eagle eggs hatch in 35 days, the stages of development

April 28, 2020: D34, D36, and D35 seeking shade at N2B

When will we be able to tell the sex of the eaglets?

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

April 16, 2020: Decorah Eaglets

Why don’t Mom and DM2 DO something about all of those beak-bonking battles?

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

April 7, 2020: D34 and D35

Your questions, answered: Will the third egg hatch? Why did the first two eaglets hatch so close together?

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

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News
News

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February 26, 2021: Mom incubating at N3

2-26-21 Day Trip to Decorah

By Robin Brumm I had the afternoon off for an appointment on Friday, so decided to make a quick trip to Decorah to see what Mom and DM2 were up to. I figured if we had eggs there would be somebirdy there. If not, I would be watching an empty nest. When I got to N3, I didn’t see anybody. I wasn’t sure if I was happy about that or not! I took a few pictures of the nest, and

February 27, 2021: First Egg Fundraiser

Announcing: Our first egg fundraiser!

Please join the Raptor Resource Project on Saturday, February 27th, for our first egg fundraiser! We’ll celebrate two eggs for the Decorah North eagles and talk about both eagle families! DNF and Mr. North will be there. Will Mom and DM2 show up? We can only hope! The fundraiser will go from 8am to 8pm on our Decorah North page: https://www.raptorresource.org/birdcams/decorah-north-nest/ and from 8 am to 12 noon and 4 pm to 8 pm on the Decorah Eagles page https://www.raptorresource.org/birdcams/decorah-eagles/. We

February 21, 2021: DNF protects her eggs.

Snow, snow, go away!

Snow, snow, go away! But as awful as the weather looks, our eagles are ready for it. At Decorah North, DNF incubates her eggs through a snowstorm. Her tightly-lapped feathers act like shingles, keeping her (and her eggs!) protected from ice, snow, and cold drizzle. Their oh-so-carefully constructed egg cup – think of all the materials that Mr. North and DNF brought in, and all the work they did to mold, conform, and tweak them! – traps heat from their

February 17, 2021: A nice long stick is brought in and smack dab in the middle of two nest tree symbols I always follow. Note the heart in the Cottonwood tree circled at the top left, and just below the stick, the diamond shape in the bark which I use as a measuring stick to check progress of the build and nest bed amendments.

Whew + Tick Tock!

By Sherri Elliott  Mom Decorah and her mate, DM2 surprised us with a new nest this year…still in their territory, but far enough away that our prying eyes can’t catch them on camera. Lately, they have been spending some time at their old N2B nest, occasionally dropping off a stick or some fluff, but yesterday (and today!) was “eggstra” special seeing multiple drops of sticks as well as getting their groove on with copulation caught on cam (https://youtu.be/t-mzNsAZC4U), an indication

February 12, 2021: Eagle 307 at Lock and Dam 15. Photo by Tim Brandenburg

February 19, 2021: Eagle Maps!

We hope you enjoy today’s eagle map bonanza! D24, D36, and D27 sent postcards and two photographers took photos of eagle #307, an eagle that Brett has been tracking since 2015. So where is everbirdie? Let’s start with our birds! D24, D27, and D36 Five year-old D24 is spending time on the Turkey River southwest of Decorah, between Ridgeway and Protivin, not far from the site of his 2020 Valentine’s Day airmail! It’s no surprise D24 decided to stay, or

>> More News
Nest Records
Decorah Eagles 2020 Nesting Record
Egg-Laying
Egg #1: February 26, 2020 @ 5:44 PM CT
Egg #2: February 29, 2020 @ 6:28 PM CT
Egg #3: March 4, 2020 @ 5:59 PM CT

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

Eaglets and Outcomes >>
 YearNest EagletsOutcomes
2020N2B3 – D34, D35, D36All three eaglets fledged successfully. We are following D35 and D36 via satellite.
2019N2B2 – D32, D33Both eaglets abandoned the nest early
following an intense blackfly swarm.
Both were cared for at SOAR and have since been released.
2018N2B3 – D29, D30, D31All fledged.
2017N2B3 – D26, D27, D28All fledged. We are following D27 via satellite.
2016N2B2 – D24, D25D25 was struck by a car and died.
We are following D24 via satellite.
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 2021 playlist, or visit our our YouTube channel.