Decorah Eagle Cam

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Where did Mom and DM2 go? The two built a new nest out of camera range. But another pair of eagles have moved into the hatchery territory and are busy working on N1. HD and HM are usually active in the morning and late afternoon. Check the video list at the bottom of the page or subscribe to our blog to keep up with the latest news.

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About the Decorah Eagles

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.

Decorah Eagles: HM and HD

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, and N3

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.

  • 2022: Canada Geese hatch young in N2B: https://youtu.be/rhQCa2yUPuA and a new pair of bald eagles adopts N1.
  • 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/.

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

January 23, 2023: HD sports eye-cicles on a frosty morning in Decorah. An icy fog left everything coated with frost

How do eagles stay warm in cold weather?

Each species experiences the world differently and eagles have capacities that are far different from ours. How do Bald Eagles survive an Iowa winter without adaptive clothing and central heat? A cold January morning coated our eagles in frost and left watchers wondering how Bald Eagles survive an Iowa winter. In general, wintering animals – including humans – need to retain body heat, stay dry, and take in enough calories to support winter’s increased energy demands. We humans put on

March 30, 2018: Mrs. North's brood patch

What is a brood patch?

Daylight length, or photoperiod, strongly influences hormone production in birds. In the northern hemisphere, our story begins shortly after the winter solstice in December. As daylight length increases, a cascade of hormones causes birds’ gonads to swell in preparation for reproduction, egg-laying, and incubation. In this blog, we’ll discuss the role the brood patch plays in incubation and determining clutch size. How do bald eagles keep their eggs warm in subzero temperatures? They apply heat via a special area of

A blackbird's cup nest

Birds and Nest-Building

When I say ‘bird’s nest’, you know the type of nest I’m talking about, right? It could be a bald eagle’s stick platform high up in the branches of a tree. Or perhaps a peregrine falcon’s scrape in dirt, sand, or gravel on a shallow cliff ledge. Or maybe the burrows that bank swallows and belted kingfishers excavate in dirt, the cavity nests that woodpeckers excavate in dead wood, or the woven nests that orioles and weavers build. When I

Happy Halloween 2022!

Birds in superstition and folklore

The ways in which we watch and learn about birds – HD cameras, high-powered spotting scopes and lenses, and DNA analyzers – are new, but our interest in birds is very old. Sacred and magical birds are common in folklore, oral traditions, and religious texts, including the Bible, the Torah, the Qur’an, and the Bhagavad-gita. It’s easy to say that ancient people lacked a global perspective and scientific knowledge, but a quick search for birds + omens shows that we

September 2019: Migrating Birds on the Mississippi Flyway

On Migration

At whatever moment you read these words, day or night, there are birds aloft in the skies of the Western Hemisphere, migrating. If it is spring or fall, the great pivot points of the year, then the continents are swarming with billions of traveling birds… – Living on the Wind: Across the Hemisphere with Migratory Birds We get a lot of questions about migration. Do the Decorah eagles migrate? Do our Peregrine falcons migrate? Where do they go when they

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News
News

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February 1, 2023: Another look at the subadult eagle.

Is that subadult eagle a Decorah Eaglet?

Several persistent subadult eagles at the Decorah trout hatchery have watchers wondering if they are Decorah eaglets. One appears to be roughly 2-1/2 years old, which means it hatched in 2020: the last year that Mom and DM2 nested in N2B. We know it isn’t D35 or D36. Could it be D34?  Natal dispersal in birds is defined as the movement between hatching location and first breeding or potential breeding location. Juvenile bald eagles usually disperse from their natal nests

January 8, 2023: HM continued to sound the eagle alarm, adding his voice to the crow chorus. We don't don't know what was flying through neighborhood, but a wave of sound proceeded it. Bird calls can trav­el at speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour, giving birds advance warning to take cover or sound their own warning!

Announcing: The Raptor Resource Project’s 2023 Eagle Chats!

Are you ready for eagle chat? The egg clock is ticking ever louder as we count the days until HM and DNF lay their first eggs! If you have a chatroll account, you are good to go! If you don’t, register for a free account here: https://chatroll-cloud-1.com/signup. Here’s what our chat schedule looks like! Decorah Eagles Chat The Decorah Eagles regularly scheduled chat will begin after HM lays her first egg. From the first egg to the first hatch, we’ll

January 26, 2023: HM and HD.

January 30, 2023: NestFlix and News from Decorah, Decorah North, and Fort St. Vrain

We saw a lot of visiting eagles arrive late last week as subzero temperatures and storms pushed eagles into northeast Iowa. Many bald eagles winter in the same place every year, but others behave more like irruptive migrants as they wander the landscape in search of open water and easily available food. Extremely cold weather and serious snowfall push wanderers south – much to the chagrin of residents who aren’t excited about hungry visitors near their nests! The interlopers kept

January 23, 2023: HD sports eye-cicles on a frosty morning in Decorah. An icy fog left everything coated with frost

How do eagles stay warm in cold weather?

Each species experiences the world differently and eagles have capacities that are far different from ours. How do Bald Eagles survive an Iowa winter without adaptive clothing and central heat? A cold January morning coated our eagles in frost and left watchers wondering how Bald Eagles survive an Iowa winter. In general, wintering animals – including humans – need to retain body heat, stay dry, and take in enough calories to support winter’s increased energy demands. We humans put on

March 30, 2018: Mrs. North's brood patch

What is a brood patch?

Daylight length, or photoperiod, strongly influences hormone production in birds. In the northern hemisphere, our story begins shortly after the winter solstice in December. As daylight length increases, a cascade of hormones causes birds’ gonads to swell in preparation for reproduction, egg-laying, and incubation. In this blog, we’ll discuss the role the brood patch plays in incubation and determining clutch size. How do bald eagles keep their eggs warm in subzero temperatures? They apply heat via a special area of

>> More News
Nest Records

Decorah Eagles 2023 Nesting Record

Egg-Laying: Decorah Eagles
2023 marks HD and HM’s first year here, so we don’t have a nesting chronology for them yet. In general, eagles at this latitude usually begin laying eggs between late January and mid-March. The eagles we watch in Decorah generally lay eggs in mid-to-late February, although first time pairs often lay a little later and move earlier an their second and third year.

Egg-Laying: Decorah Geese
In 2022, Mother Goose laid her first egg on March 24.

Hatching: Decorah Eagles
We’ll estimate hatch after HM lays her first egg.

Hatching: Decorah Geese
In 2022, the goslings began hatching on April 26.

Fledging
In 2022, the goslings jumped from the nest on Thursday, April 28.

Eaglets and Outcomes >>
 Year Nest  Eaglets Outcomes
2022 N3 failed. Five goslings jumped from N2B CG1, CG2, CG3, CG4, CG5 One gosling – we think it might have been the second one – died in the leap. The rest survived and rejoined their parents.
2021 N3 3 – D37, D38, D39 All three eaglets fledged successfully.
2020 N2B 3 – D34, D35, D36 All three eaglets fledged successfully. We are following D35 and D36 via satellite.
2019 N2B 2 – D32, D33 Both eaglets abandoned the nest early
following an intense blackfly swarm.
Both were cared for at SOAR and have since been released.
2018 N2B 3 – D29, D30, D31 All fledged.
2017 N2B 3 – D26, D27, D28 All fledged. We are following D27 via satellite.
2016 N2B 2 – D24, D25 D25 was struck by a car and died.
We are following D24 via satellite.
2015 N2 3 – D21, D22, D23 All fledged
2014 N2 3 – D20, D19, D18 All fledged. D18 and D19 were electrocuted.
D20 is still alive and living at SOAR.
2013 N2 3 – D17, D16, D15 All fledged
2012 N1 3 – D14, D13, D12 All fledged. D12 and D14 were electrocuted.
2011 N1 3 – E1, E2, E3 All fledged. We last saw D1 in July of 2014.
Her current status is unknown
2010 N1 3 – Not named All fledged
2009 N1 3 – Not named All fledged
2008 N1 2 – Not named All fledged

We often get questions about where the eaglets go after they disperse. We tracked eaglets in 2011, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2020 to try to answer this question. For more information, visit our eagle maps.

Decorah Eagles Video Library

Decorah Eagles Video Library

Click the hamburger icon on the top right of the video below to view a full list of videos from our most recent playlist, or visit our Decorah Eagles video library page here: https://www.youtube.com/c/RaptorResourceProject.