Decorah Bald Eagles

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Decorah
55°
clear sky
humidity: 66%
wind: 10mph W
H 51 • L 51
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

DateTags
Feather Follicle
What are feathers? What is molt?May 19, 2019FAQ, Feathers
April 13, 2019: Whatta Day!
Whatta Week! Grabbing, Gulping, Growing Ginormous-sauruses!May 13, 2019FAQ, Whatta
05/09/19: Mom and DM2
What is up with our eagle Moms?May 9, 2019FAQ
From bobble heads to eaglets: Natal down, thermal down, and flight feathers!
From bobble heads to eaglets: Natal down, thermal down, and flight feathers!May 1, 2019FAQ, Feathers
Three plumage stages are visible: natal down (head), thermal "down" (grey feathers), and juvenile plumage
Eaglet Growth and Development: Week FourApril 30, 2019Eaglets, FAQ
April 21, 2019: D32
Eaglet Growth and Development: Week ThreeApril 21, 2019FAQ
Your questions, answered: DM2 and DNF
Your questions, answered: What’s in a name?April 17, 2019FAQ, Nomenclature
April 11, 2019: Fish and more fish!
Eaglet Growth and Development, Week TwoApril 12, 2019Eaglets, FAQ
Day four: Let the beak battling begin!
Eaglet Growth and Development: Week OneApril 8, 2019Eaglets, FAQ
04/06/19: DM2 and feeding
Your questions, answered: When will DM2 start feeding?April 6, 2019Decorah Eagles, DM2, FAQ
April 5, 2019: An eagle's tongue
Bald eagle tongues and beaks!April 5, 2019Beak, FAQ, Tongues
Development of an avian embryo
Peek inside a bald eagle egg: 24 days!March 27, 2019Eggs, Embryo, FAQ
A chicken embryo roughly halfway to hatch
Peek inside a bald eagle egg: 17 days!March 20, 2019Eggs, Embryo, FAQ
Your questions, answered: Questions from Explore followers!
Your questions, answered: Questions from Explore followers!March 14, 2019Decorah Eagles, FAQ
Chicken embryos roughly 25% of the way to hatch
Peek inside a bald eagle egg: 11 days!March 6, 2019Eggs, Embryo, FAQ
Peek inside a bald eagle egg: 4 days!
Peek inside a bald eagle egg: 4 days!February 26, 2019Eggs, Embryo, FAQ
04/18/18: Mrs. North incubates through the snowstorm
Eggs and cold weatherFebruary 20, 2019Decorah Eagles, Decorah North Eagles, Eggs, FAQ, FSV Eagles, Incubation, Weather
February 14, 2019: FSV
Do bald eagles delay incubation?February 15, 2019Decorah Eagles, Decorah North Eagles, Eggs, FAQ, FSV Eagles, Incubation, Reproduction
An egg in cross section, modified from Romanoff and Romanoff, 1949
How long does it take a bald eagle to lay an egg?February 10, 2019Decorah Eagles, Decorah North Eagles, Eggs, FAQ, FSV Eagles, Reproduction
March 30, 2018: Mrs. North's brood patch
What is a brood patch?February 6, 2019Brood Patch, Decorah Eagles, Decorah North Eagles, FAQ, FSV Eagles, Incubation, Reproduction
Second egg for the Decorah Eagles!
Nest chronology: Egg timing!January 25, 2019Brood Patch, Decorah Eagles, Eggs, FAQ, Molt, Weather
Daylight Length Graph from Fort Meyers Florida
When will our eagles lay eggs? Bald eagle breeding in Iowa and FloridaJanuary 22, 2019Circannual clocks, Decorah Eagles, Eggs, FAQ, Reproduction
Human Eye versus Eagle Eye
Eagle Eyes!November 19, 2017Bald Eagles, Eyes, FAQ
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 48 days 6 hours old.
D33 is 45 days 5 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.