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Welcome to the tenth year of the Decorah Eagles. We hope you enjoy watching and learning about bald eagles with us! Click the livestream to watch, click here to pop video out, and scroll down the page to learn more about the eagles and their surroundings.
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 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.
Dad, Mom’s original mate, disappeared in April of 2018. Based on plumage color, Mom was four years old in 2007, making her seventeen years old in 2020. 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.
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.
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
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
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
Place, as writer Thom Van Dooren points out, can be understood as an embodied, lived, and meaningful environment. Bald eagles clearly have a sense of place. Their territories are woven with layers of attention, meaning, and experience: spots to hunt, perch, and hide from the weather, materials to build and replenish their nests, and mates and family to bond with and care for. Eagles have neighbors beyond counting – squirrels, mice, raccoon, rabbits, muskrat, mink, coyotes, deer, prairie dogs, trout,
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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Thanks for the airmail, eaglets! Can we still call D27 an eaglet? She is a little over three years old right now and is spending her time in a valley system just a few miles south of her natal nest. We keep wondering if she’ll cross paths with sibling D36, but the two haven’t been especially close so far. D36 continues to hang south, moving his foraging area from the Turkey River to the Volga River: also a popular spot
We have a little #sundaysweetness for everyone this morning! As the nest shows, Mom and DM2 have been busy! These videos give us a very nice look at both eagles and a little nestoration at N2B. Have a great day, everyone! Decorah Eagles November 21, 2020: Early morning – https://youtu.be/zV75RVbrRag. Mom is at N1, which is currently decorah-ated with a single stick. DM2 lands at N2B with another stick, which he places in the nest. A frosty Mom comes to
What a day it was in Decorah! Once Mom and DM2 decided it was time to get going on nestorations, they didn’t waste any time. We saw sticks, corn husks, cornstalks, and road kill in N2B today! At Decorah North, an opossum collects leaves with its tail. On the Flyway, two beautiful bald eagles stand next two one another, casting lovely reflections on the still water. I hope you enjoyed these videos as much as we did. Thank you so
We have your Nestflix from Decorah, Decorah North, and the Flyway! I loved all of these videos, but I especially enjoyed seeing Mom and DM2 working on the nest, the food chase at the North nest, and the food fight on the Mississippi Flyway – or most of the videos we’ve rounded up for you tonight! We hope you are doing well and enjoy these videos as much as we did. Thank you so much for watching with us! Decorah
We’re getting a lot of questions about eagles and what might be called menopause this week. Many of you want to know if female bald eagles stop laying eggs due to age-related changes in their bodies – the avian version of menopause. Is Mom disinterested in DM2 because she’s done with eggs? The short answer is ‘No’, but I want to unpack the question a little further. Human menopause is very unusual. Unlike the vast majority of animals, women can
D34: April 5, 2020 @ 9:45 AM CDT D35: April 5, 2020 @ 4:07 PM CDT D36: April 8, 2020 @ 6:50 PM CDT
D34: June 18 @ 8:40 AM D35: June 21 @ 8:44 AM – fall turned fledge! D36: June 21 @ 6:09 PM
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.