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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,
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I’ve started to put items up for our After The Fledge auction! They can be found here: https://www.32auctions.com/ATF2020. I’ll be adding more as they come in! The auction begins at noon CT on Sunday, July 19, and runs until 5:00 PM CT on Saturday, July 25. You have until Saturday, July 18 to donate items. If you would like to donate something, please email [email protected] To bid, you will need an account. If you don’t have one, you can create one here:
How are the Tree Amigos doing? Our observers on the ground and online report that they seem to be enjoying their newly acquired flight skills! We’ve seen them lounging around N2B, attending outdoor school with Mom, practicing eagle table manners (“My fish!”), and coping with red-winged blackbirds and blue jays. Grab the popcorn and get ready to catch up with D34, D35, and D36 with a Wednesday Nestflix megaroll! July 7, 2020: D34 closeups on the nest – https://youtu.be/Ptq-ehh6tNw. Just
Photos and story by Robin Brumm Decorah was calling … or would that be squeeeing? No matter, the pull was felt, and I decided I needed to go to Decorah again to see the Juvies, and headed out Wednesday morning at dark O’clock. When I got to Decorah, D35 was on the mulch pile at the hatchery. She flew off and landed on the roof of the hatchery kiosk and then flew to a shed roof and a garage roof
On July 4th of 1776, the Declaration of Independence was ratified by Congress. Six years later, on June 20 1782, Congress chose the Bald Eagle as the emblem of the United States of America because of its long life, great strength, majestic appearance, and presence in Roman symbology. We will forever be in awe of the beauty and splendor of our eagles and the landscapes – the rivers, hills, plains, and purple mountains majesty! – that they live in. On
Terri sent me this poem and asked if we would like to publish it on our website. I think it is absolutely beautiful. I hope you love it as much as I did! Thanks to Terri for sharing it! Bald Eagle by Terri Kirby Erickson Decorah, Iowa, 2020 A bald eagle sits on the topmost branch of a white oak tree, wings outstretched, her pale head coppered by the morning sun. Her fledglings are sleeping once again, in the nest.
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.