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Welcome to the tenth year of the Decorah Eagle Cam! We hope you enjoy watching eagles and learning about them 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 (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.
Map of the Decorah Eagles Territory. Click here for a live map.
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.
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 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.
Bald Eagle Vocalization
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,
Click a title to read more
We have your NestFlix! While we are seeing less of D35 and D36 right now, the Flyway is getting busy. Fall migration is much more drawn out than spring migration and some birds are beginning to engage in pre-migration activities, including feeding and gathering in large flocks. At this latitude, bats won’t begin migration and hibernation until cold weather diminishes insect populations, which means the large and very cool cloud of bats in the first Flyway video is probably local
Where are D34 and DN12? Can the eaglets hunt on their own yet? When will they disperse? Your questions, answered…as best we can! Where are D34 and DN12? The short answer: we don’t know. Neither eaglet has been seen for several days and we didn’t see or hear D34 when we were in Decorah last week. Most of the eaglets that we have studied slowly widened their explorations prior to dispersal. But some (D25 and D1, for example) began adventuring
Where are the eagles? D27 sent a postcard from Lake Petownikip in northwestern Ontario this week! She is on an island journey, foraging and perching extensively on the tiny islets that dot the lake. Meanwhile, D35 is beginning to broaden her travels! Brett wrote: “Look who is getting a little adventurous! Two jaunts of nearly two miles one-way in a day! It is nice she came back to her natal area by day’s end.” We thought D36 might begin exploring
Grab the popcorn and sit back for some Nestflix (and a link to an article about our peregrine banding work)! We’re starting to see less of D34, D35, D36, and DN12 now that all four tween-eagles have discovered the wonder of flight, but the Flyway is busy – and getting busier – as birds and other animals begin preparing for fall. I liked all of these videos, but it was nice to see Mom and DM2 getting a little personal
Thank you everyone for a wonderful After The Fledge! We missed seeing you in person, but had a lot of fun online and we will continue to include a virtual component in years to come for anyone who can’t be there. We collected our After The Fledge tours and presentations here: https://www.raptorresource.org/after-the-fledge-2020/atf-presentations/. We collected the moderator favorite videos of 2020 here: https://www.raptorresource.org/about-us/de-mod-top-ten-videos-of-2020/. Did you take the DE Chat Mods eagle knowledge quiz? https://www.raptorresource.org/test-your-bald-eagle-knowledge/. Thanks to everyone who participated in our
Decorah Eagles 2020 Nesting Record
Hatching D34: April 5, 2020 @ 9:45 AM CDT D35: April 5, 2020 @ 4:07 PM CDT D36: April 8, 2020 @ 6:50 PM CDT
Fledging 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.