Decorah Bald Eagles

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Welcome to the tenth year of the Decorah Eagles! We hope you enjoy watching and learning 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.

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Click here to make a donation to the Raptor Resource Project. Click here to buy a 2020 Decorah Eagles calendar. Thank you for watching, learning, and caring!

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.

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 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.

Nest Territory and Locations
Map of the Decorah Eagles Territory
Map of the Decorah Eagles Territory

Five nests (N0, N1, N2, N2B, and a second nest at N1) 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. In 2019, a sub-adult male eagle began building a second nest at the old N1 site, sometimes referred to as N1B. We’ll see if the eagles use it for the 2019 season.

  • 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

News

Click a title to read more

January 19, 202: Mom and DM2

Nestflix: January 19, 2020

It was so good to see Mom and DM2 today, and we have some wonderful video of the Norths! We hope you enjoy our #SundaySweets! Thanks to our always-observant camera operators and video makers for finding and sharing special moments, and to you for watching, caring, learning, and sharing! Decorah Eagles 1/19/20: Mom arrives on a snowy nest, DM2 follows – https://youtu.be/w7fBF6XTvpk. Welcome back, Mom and DM2! They don’t stay long, but both visit N2B. Mom flies up to the

January 17, 2020: Mr. flies into the nest with a fish

Fri-yay Nestflix

We’re happy to reach the weekend, happy to have the Decorah cam working again (thanks, John!), and looking forward to eggs and eaglets! Looking to save the date? In general: The FSV Eagles usually start laying eggs in mid-February. They laid their first egg on February 13 last year. The Decorah Eagles usually start laying eggs just a tiny bit later. Mom laid her first egg on February 22 last year. The Decorah North Eagles have been harder to predict,

January 16, 2020: Coyote and swans on the Flyway

Nestflix: Decorah, Decorah North, and the Flyway

Brrrrrrrr! The thermometer reads -1F right now in Decorah, and the cold has our eagles hunkered down. They deal with frigid subzero temperatures by using the least amount of energy to get the most amount of food. Ben Franklin famously called bald eagles lazy, but Ben wasn’t living outside through an Iowa winter. I’d call them pretty smart! We’ve shared this information before, but if you haven’t read it and would like to know more about how eagles cope with

January 15, 2020: Intruder in Decorah

Decorah Eagles: Who was that?

Who was the intruder in Decorah today? Here’s what we know (and it isn’t much): an intruder visited N2B. She (we think it was a ‘she’ based on facial features) gobbled down frozen nestovers that she dug from the snow and ice at the bottom of the nest. After about twelve minutes, Mom or DM2 chased her away. Intruder at N2B Watchers are concerned about Mom and DM2’s late response to the intruder. Are they serious about defending their territory?

January 13, 2019: Mr. North and DNF

Nestflix: Decorah and Decorah North

Winter is back! We have videos from Decorah and Decorah North. Mom and DM2 took the day off, but Mr. North and DNF got busy removing the snow. I especially loved the two videos from Decorah North. If you missed Sherri’s post yesterday, be sure to check out the subadult video. This is a beautiful eagle! I also enjoyed seeing Mr. North slingshot past the North nest as he tore off a branch for delivery to the nest. It isn’t

>> More News
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
Both eaglets abandoned the nest early following intense blackfly swarms.
D32 left the nest on June 4, 2019. He was 61 days old. He was picked up and is still in the care of SOAR.
D33 left the nest on June 5, 2019. She was 59 days old. She was picked up and cared for by SOAR until her release in the fall of 2019.

D32 is 291 days 11 hours old.
D33 is 288 days 10 hours old.
Eaglets and Outcomes >>
 YearNest EagletsOutcomes
2019N2B2 – D32, D33Both eaglets abandoned the nest early
following an intense blackfly swarm.
D32 is being cared for by SOAR. D33
has been released.
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.