About the Decorah Eagles
A new pair of eagles have moved into the rebuilt N1 nest near the trout hatchery. For now, we are calling them HM (Hatchery Mom) and HD (Hatchery Dad). 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 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 HM and HD and should help in ID’ing them. We have more tips here
A Brief History of the Decorah Eagles: OM, Dad, Mom, DM2, HM, and HD
Dad Decorah and his first mate, OM, began nesting near the fish hatchery in 2002. OM disappeared in the early fall of 2007 and was replaced by Mom, Dad’s second mate. Mom and Dad stayed together through three nests and eleven years before Dad disappeared in April of 2018. Mom accepted her second mate, DM2, in the fall of 2018 and the two nested near the hatchery until the end of 2020, when they built a new nest behind the Walmart in Decorah.
Nest N1 sat empty in 2021 and 2022, although we began seeing another pair of adult bald eagles in and around the nest in March of 2022, and Canada Geese hatched young at N2B in April. For the time being, we have christened the new Decorah Eagles HM (Hatchery Mom) and HD (Hatchery Dad), although those names could change. Whatever we end up calling them, we are hopeful they will lay eggs in 2023!
Nest Territory and Locations: N0, N1, N2, N2B, N3, and N4
Five nests (N0, N1 [twice], N2, and N2B) have been built on the Decorah territory. Bald eagles built N0, N1 (once), and N2. Neil Rettig and Kike Arnal built nest N2B in August of 2015 after N2 was destroyed in a storm, and Kike Arnal and Amy Ries rebuilt nest N1 in September of 2021 after the original nest dwindled away.
- 2023: HD and HM nest in N1.
- 2022: Canada Geese hatch young in N2B: https://youtu.be/rhQCa2yUPuA, a new pair of bald eagles (HD, or Hatchery Dad and HM, or Hatchery Mom) adopts N1, N3 falls in July, and Mom and DM2 build another nest (N4) behind the Decorah-area Walmart.
- 2020: Mom and DM2 begin a new nest (N3) behind the Decorah Walmart and begin nesting there in 2021.
- 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. Watch the N2B rebuild here: https://youtu.be/2-xRSBBeIYs and read about it at our old blogspot: http://raptorresource.blogspot.com/2015/08/n2b-or-new-decorah-nest.html.
- 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
Read this blog for more details about Mom, DM2, HD, HM, and the nests: https://www.raptorresource.org/2022/07/18/your-questions-answered-mom-dad-dm2-hd-hm-the-nests-and-the-territories/.