Decorah Bald Eagles

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Decorah
73°
broken clouds
humidity: 65%
wind: 10mph SSE
H 68 • L 68
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.

Mom and DM2

Nest Territory and Locations

Nest map and compass. Roll over the image and click the arrows to move right and left

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.

Four nests (N0, N1, N2, and N2B) 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.

  • 2018: After two male eagles come and go, Mom accepts a new mate. The two begin working on N2B in October.
  • 2018: Dad disappears in April of 2018. He is last seen at N2B on April 18, 2018.
  • 2015: Mom and Dad adopt N2B in October of 2015
  • 2015: Humans build a nest (N2B) to encourage the eagles to begin building near the former location of N2
  • 2015: N2 is destroyed during a storm the morning of July 18
  • 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: A four-year old female (Mom) joins Dad at N1 in early December
  • 2007: OM disappears in early fall
  • 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
  • 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

Blogs About Bald Eagles
[posts_table tag=”FAQ” columns=”image:blank,title:blank,date,tags” rows_per_page=”5″ page_length=”false”]

News
D32 at SOAR: A description of surgery

D32 Update

Thanks to SOAR for allowing us to share this post on our website! Kay assisted Drs. Riordan and Struve with surgery to straighten and stabilize D32’s right tibiotarsus. The stabilization had to be from the outside (external) as both veterinarians agreed that there was no way to attach anything to the tiny piece of bone next to the joint. D32 did have an open owie near the break and a very tiny corner of bone was exposed. The leg was

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Update from GSB and Decorah

Great Spirit Bluff: Some sad news early this morning as a Great Horned Owl entered the peregrine falcon nest box and killed one of the eyasses before Mom Michelle could respond with her own swift attack to the intruder to defend her young. The GHO abandoned the box with Michelle fiercely chasing it away. Sadly, the little eyas, identified as female Kira, perished. The male eyas, Carson, was not hurt and has been seen eating, wingersizing, vocalizing and is being

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Update: Decorah Hatchery Nest eaglet D32

D32 was located yesterday evening in Trout Run Creek by a couple of local residents. The eagle was located tucked in along a bank downstream from the Decorah Hatchery nest. It was in rough shape, and the residents informed the DNR Hatchery personnel, who then retrieved it from the creek, and placed him/her in a “turkey box”, shown in the picture attached here. The hatchery staff notified RRP, and we quickly set a plan in motion to get D32 the

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Update on Decorah Eagles D32 & D33

Written by Sherri Elliott It’s been a pretty frantic 24 hours anxiously awaiting news in the search for D32 who flew off the Skywalk branch about 6:03PM CT last evening, and even more stressful when sibling D33 fell off the Skywalk in nearly the same place about 2:39PM CT this afternoon. The search team headed out early this morning led by RRP Board Director and eagle biologist Brett Mandernack and wildlife assistant Ryan Schmitz. Both quickly got to work and

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We are searching for D32

D32 branched earlier today and left the tree entirely this evening. This evening D32 took flight again from the Skywalk branch and, while we don’t know if this was a purposeful flight or an unintentional fledge, we immediately took action to assess the situation on the ground. No other information is available at this time, but we will provide an update here, on Facebook, and at explore.org when we learn anything. We understand that everyone is concerned about D32, but

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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
D30, last year’s first fledgling, fledged on 6/16/18 @ 2:55PM CDT

D32 is 71 days 23 hours old.
D33 is 68 days 22 hours old.
Eaglets and Outcomes >>
 YearNest EagletsOutcomes
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.